For the fourth consecutive quarter, the size of Afghanistan’s National Defense and Security Forces is reported at the lowest level it has been since the Resolute Support mission began in January 2015, a US watchdog said in a report.
The drop in size of the ANDSF has occurred in the past few months due to changes in the way troops are counted and an effort to reduce the number of so-called “ghost” or nonexistent soldiers, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in a report to the US Congress on July 30.
The report says that only those ANDSF personnel who have been biometrically validated in APPS are included in strength figures.
This quarter’s ANDSF strength decreased by 41,777 personnel since approximately the same period in 2018, and by 50,277 compared to about the same period in 2017.
According to the report, there are 180,869 Afghan National Army (ANA) and 91,596 Afghan National Police (ANP) personnel enrolled and accounted for in APPS as of May 25, 2019.
This is roughly 10,000 ANA fewer and 25,000 ANP fewer than the numbers reported to SIGAR last quarter.80 This quarter’s strength of 272,465 puts the ANDSF at 77.4%, and 79,535 personnel short, of its goal strength of 352,000.81, the report added.