Afghan security forces are dying at five times the rate of NATO soldiers as Taliban insurgents step up attacks ahead of the withdrawal of foreign troops in 2014, the latest figures show.
While deaths among NATO’s troops are regularly chronicled in the 50 countries that contribute soldiers to the war, the daily casualties among the Afghans they are fighting alongside rarely make headlines.
A total of 853 Afghan soldiers and police were killed in the past four months, government figures show, compared with 165 NATO troops, according to a tally kept by the Web site icasualties.org.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai warned in May that the Afghan death toll would increase as the US-led troops start withdrawing and hand increasing responsibility for security to Afghan forces.
Both NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and Afghanistan’s interior ministry have noted a surge in attacks in recent months, since the start of the Taliban’s annual summer offensive.
Last month alone saw the highest number of attacks in nearly two years, with more than 100 assaults a day across the country, including firefights and roadside bombings, the US-led coalition said.
Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Seddiqi said at the weekend that there had been a surge in casualties suffered by police in the past four months, with 635 killed and 1,246 wounded.
“We have increased our operations against the enemy and they also intensified their attacks,” he said, adding that 1,730 insurgents had been killed over the same period.