Afghan military suffers significant casualties since end of government’s ceasefire

While Resolute Support touted the body count of insurgents during the three-week period following the Afghan government’s unilateral ceasefire as a measure of success, the Taliban has also inflicted casualties on Afghan forces during this timeframe. An estimated 150 Afghan security personnel (soldiers, policemen, and militia fighters) have been killed in major Taliban attacks since July 12, according to data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal.

US Army Major General Andrew Poppas, Resolute Support’s deputy chief of staff for operations, claimed on July 21 that Afghan operations resulted in the killing or wounding of over 1,700 Taliban, Islamic State, and other insurgents. Poppas’ figures are derived from the Afghan ministries of Defense and Interior, which are notorious for inflating casualties. Even if Poppas’ stated figures for insurgent casualties are accurate, he did not explain how the body count equated to progress on the ground. Afghan forces have not wrestled districts from Taliban control during this time period, and the Taliban remains on the offensive. [See LWJ report, NATO command touts body count of ‘Taliban irreconcilables’.]

The estimated 150 Afghan security personnel killed since July 12 was derived from press reports on significant attacks by the Taliban on Afghan bases, security checkpoints, and district centers. A significant attack defined as one where more than five Afghan security personnel were killed. Smaller scale attacks, such as roadside bombings and assassinations, were not included.

FDD’s Long War Journal identified nine major attacks in eight different provinces (Day Kundi, Farah, Kandahar, Kunduz, Nangarhar, Paktika, and Zabul) since July 12. The list below does not include Taliban claims of major attacks on Voice of Jihad; if it did the number would be much higher. The Taliban has claimed nine significant attacks between July 23-24. The Taliban claims cannot be dismissed out of hand as there is often a kernel of truth to the reports. While the Taliban often inflates casualties inflicted on Afghan forces, the attacks often can be verified. Additionally, the Afghan media does not report on every attack.

Note that in each instance, the Taliban killed the Afghan security personnel as they were manning defensive positions. This directly contradicts statements by Pentagon Spokesperson Dana White, who claimed in mid-May of this year that the Taliban is “desperate” and “has not had the initiative.” [See LWJ report, Pentagon spokesperson doubles down on ‘desperate’ Taliban comment.]

List of significant Taliban attacks since July 12:

July 12: The Taliban is reported to have killed up to 40 Afghan soldiers in Kunuz and 10 more in Farah.

July 14: The Taliban killed 17 Afghan soldiers after overrun a security checkpoint in Farah.

July 16: The Taliban stormed a security checkpoint in Nangarhar and killed seven soldiers.

July 17: The Taliban killed nine security personnel after overrun three security checkpoints in Kunduz.

July 17: The Taliban killed or wounded 16 Afghan security personnel while attacking checkpoints in Kandahar.

July 23: The Taliban killed 27 Afghan security forces while assaulting checkpoints in Paktika province.

July 23: The Taliban killed nine member of a pro-government militia in Day Kundi province.

July 24: The Taliban killed 15 security personnel in an attack in Zabul.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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8 Comments

  • S R says:

    Even though the ANDSF outnumber and greatly outarm the Taliban and have the support of NATO, the reason why the Taliban have the upper hand against the ANDSF is because the Taliban are fighting for religious reasons, believing if they are ‘martyred’ during their jihad, they will be awarded with Janatul Firdaus (the highest level of paradise in Islam) and that 72 beautiful virgins will be awarded to them (according to Islam, the typical male resident of paradise will only have 2 beautiful virgins), while the ANDSF personnel are fighting for a wage of only a few dollars, and when things heat up, they think it’s not worth it and they flee the battlefield. This is why the Taliban’s insurgency has stubbornly lasted for 17 years and this is why the Taliban don’t compromise (i.e starting peace talks with the Afghan government, whom they consider illigitimate and unIslamic).

    Check out this short Islamic book, titled “The virtues of martyrdom and the rewards of martyrs”, to get some understanding of the psyche of a jihadi – //azelin.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/masicc84rah-shahr-22virtues-of-martyrdom-and-the-rewards-of-martyrs22.pdf

  • Observer 1 says:

    Details matter. Thanks for tallying the recent attacks by the Taliban.
    What do we know about statistics from ISIS-K in Afghanistan?

  • Charles Kessler says:

    See Philip Caputo’s A Rumor of War section entitled Officer in Charge of the Dead for all you need to know about body counts.

  • scott says:

    Crazy how body’s just sit back knowing they can win the war a % saving lives.

    Why did David p retire for? He only turned around Iraq with 100 strategy’s then Hemland and quits cost people there lives.

    What are u thinking?

  • rambo says:

    Eliminating 1700 Taliban will not affect its efficiency. nor its control of territory.

  • James says:

    Like the song says: “Have you forgotten ’bout Bin Laden?” The last time we abandoned Afghanistan, what happened? Answer: AQ (Al Qaeda) stepped in. It took the 9/11 attacks to wake people up.

    If we were to abandon Afghanistan again it would be worse since just like what happened in Iraq, not just AQ but also ISIS would step in. Yes folks, ISIS would just love to gain control over Afghanistan’s opium production. ISIS would just love to get their hands on at least some of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

    Go after the opium trade, CIA. Whoever controls the opium trade can control at least a major part of Afghanistan. Let ISIS become (or make ISIS) the Taliban’s worse nightmare.

  • Mohd Mehdi says:

    As for the last one (the attack in Zabul), facebook posts quoting ANSDF survivors of the attack put the dead at 27. See this link:

  • Nato21 says:

    The Mujahideen can’t continue losing 10 times more than the Afghan Government forces in these skirmishes for very long. Not surprising they Taliban want to negotiate. The Afghan Taliban realizes they will never have the military power to take over Afghanistan again. Will Afghanistan ever become a stable country safe for Western investment money? Doubtful, but it’s day’s of being the home of the “evil empire of Islam” are long gone.

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis