Rising Afghan deaths cause of leadership failure: US


Kabul—Basic leadership failures in many Afghan police and military units are helping drive casualty rates to ever-higher levels, the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan warned Sunday. Afghan forces are nearing the end of their second year providing security across their war-torn country, after NATO moved into an advisory and training role.
The toll on the Afghan forces has been devastating: An estimated 5,000 were killed in 2015, primarily in fights with a resurgent Taliban, and another 15,000 were injured. This year promises to be worse still.
“We are very concerned about the casualty rate … This year has been the same, or slightly higher, depending on the unit and region,” US Army General John Nicholson told reporters. “One of the principal factors for the high casualties has been the leadership, the failures of leadership at certain levels. Primarily this has been in the police and to a lesser extent the army.”
Speaking from the NATO headquarters in Kabul, the four-star general said street-level soldiers were performing as best they could, but were frequently left vulnerable by the shoddy performance of higher-ups and sometimes didn’t even have the basic supplies they need to fight.
“These young police officers who are out dying on the checkpoints don’t always have enough food, or water, or ammunition and their leader may not be with them,” Nicholson told reporters.—Agencies

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