As the war in the southern province of Helmand shows no sign of ending, the Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) on Saturday confirmed that government troops have suffered a heavy casualty toll.
In line with this, a number of military commentators have slammed government’s war strategy saying it is ineffective – an issue they believe has fueled the Taliban insurgency.
It has been reported that up to 40,000 government forces are deployed in Helmand to battle only 7,000 to 8,000 insurgents. However, recent reports emerged that a high percentage of these troops are in fact ghost soldiers.
“There are around 40,000 security personnel on the list. But reports estimate the number of enemy forces in Helmand is seven to eight thousand fighters. We should have eliminated all of these fighters by having such a big force which is also backed by tanks, aircrafts and weapons,” Helmand police chief Aqa Noor Kintoz said.
As outrage over the presence of alleged ghost soldiers in ranks of the military forces in Helmand grows, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Saturday strongly rejected the rumors.
“The majority of the people do not know about the war. Because they are not professional in it to say what is war. The war going on in Afghanistan is the most complicated war,” MoD spokesman Dawlat Waziri said.
Poor leadership of war and ambiguity on the part of government’s war strategy are apparently the key elements believed to have underestimated the military campaign against the Taliban insurgents in the country.
“Today Helmand is the hub of corruption, it is the center of smuggling, those who pay money are appointed in Helmand, because they gain a lot over there, otherwise 40,000 soldiers are a lot,” military analyst Atiqullah Amarkhail said.
“The situation in Helmand is not normal, our police forces have continued defending Helmand. When your force encounters threats in an area, then they start facing problems such as wastage, shortages, lack of equipment and many things,” MoI spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.
At the moment, 10,000 Afghan National Police (ANP) personnel including 16,000 Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers and forces from other security institutions including the Public Protection Force, Border Security Forces and Afghan Local Polilce ALP are battling the Taliban in the province.