- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The U.S. troop withdrawal plan is getting complicated due to the desertion rate of Afghan security forces and the heavy losses of those who stayed to fight.

Newly declassified U.S. military data released Tuesday spelled out that Kabul is lobbying for a slower withdrawal of U.S. forces. Afghan forces took a heavy hit in 2014 as Taliban attacks continue unabated.

A report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said Tuesday that the Afghan national army’s (ANA) total numbers fell to 169,203, down 15,636 or 8.5 percent, between February and November last year, Reuters reported.

“This is the lowest assigned ANA force strength since August 2011,” the watchdog’s report said, Reuters reported.

Asked for comment by Reuters, the U.S.-led coalition said Afghan commanders did not “set recruiting goals at levels sufficient to outpace attrition rates,” in 2014.

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