Afghan troop numbers drop sharply in crackdown on 'ghost' soldiers

Afghan troop numbers drop sharply in crackdown on 'ghost' soldiersThere has been a sharp drop in the size of Afghanistan’s National Defense Security Forces in the past few months due to changes in the way troops are counted and an effort to reduce the number of so-called “ghost” soldiers, a U.S. government watchdog said on Thursday. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in a report that ANDSF personnel size had gone down by nearly 10 percentage points in the most recent quarter compared to the previous trimester. The disclosure comes as Washington attempts to clinch a framework peace agreement with Taliban insurgents that is expected to include a timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops, which now number about 14,000 in Afghanistan.



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