Taliban attack in north kills 5 policemen

And the casualty toll within the ranks of the ANDSF "continued to be shockingly high", the report says, with 807 killed within the first six weeks of the year. "A risky and stubborn insurgency controls or exerts influence over areas holding about a third of the Afghan population". "Heavy casualties and capability gaps limit the effectiveness of Afghan soldiers and police".

Yet progress has been made - the country's gross domestic product has doubled, and education levels, including for women, have risen sharply. Afghan police and army units in 2015 took over from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation the task of providing security for the country. "Additional thousands of Coalition personnel and contractors have also died during the conflict".

The Donald Trump administration is considering plans to deploy as many as 5,000 additional American troops to Afghanistan, a move that could signal a strategy shift years after the United States officially ended its combat mission in the country, officials say.

"Improving governance, not merely beefing up military efforts or attempting to counter external sponsors of terrorism in Afghanistan, is critical for the success of USA counterterrorism efforts", she said.

Despite all the problems, with Trump vowing to "eradicate" Islamic State and the US wanting to shore up the Afghan government, the administration may have little choice than to maintain or boost military support, analysts say.

- The World Bank reported to Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund donors that no ghost schools were found during visits to 1,237 of 1,853 schools financed by the fund.

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Vanda Felbab-Brown, a fellow at the Brookings Institute, said the how the Trump administration deals with the current problems growing in Afghanistan will send a signal to the world about the U.S.'s resolve in fulfilling its commitments.

Ongoing and increasing investigations into United States contractors and military officials have seen three criminal charges, two convictions, one sentencing, and a civil settlement of $40 million in just the past three months, according to the Free Beacon.

"Casualties suffered by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in the fight against the Taliban and other insurgents continue to be shockingly high", said SIGAR, which was set up to review the effectiveness of U.S. support programmes.

The UN recorded 5,160 security incidents between November 18, 2016, and February 14, 2017, representing a 10% increase from the same period the previous year, and a 3% increase from the same period in 2014-2015.

The statement further added 15 ISIS insurgents were killed during the airstrikes conducted by the USA forces in the same district. The Taliban's widening control of key areas only makes it harder for the U.S.to extract itself from its longest-ever war.

  • Adam Floyd