The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction releases quarterly reports to the United States Congress. These reports provide independent and objective audits of the state of affairs in Afghanistan. Obviously, security is an important topic.
According to the SIGAR report published on April 30, 2016, Afghanistan is becoming even more dangerous. It remains “under increasing threat from the Taliban and other insurgents.” Below, I’ve quoted portions of the report that demonstrate the nightmare presently going on in Afghanistan:
Security: The Eroding Bedrock
It is telling that the feature story in the most recent SIGAR report is entitled, “Security: The Eroding Bedrock.” Here are some numbers to consider:
According to the United Nations, Afghanistan experienced record-high civilian casualties from the ongoing hostilities in 2015; more than 3,500 killed–a quarter of them children–and nearly 7,500 wounded. As of late November 2015, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) reports 287 (70.5%) of Afghanistan’s 407 provincial districts were “directly under [government] control or influence, while 26 districts (6.4%) were under insurgent control or influence, and another 94 (23.1%) were “at risk.”
(SIGAR Report at 5.)
Let’s put those numbers into perspective. There are 435 congressional districts (or seats) in the U.S. House of Representatives. What if insurgents controlled (or threatened to control) 29.5% of the 435 districts? A total of 128 districts lost. Or, to put it another way, insurgents would control the same number of district seats apportioned to Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The Deteriorating Security Situation in Afghanistan
There are more security incidents now than reported in the past few years. A bar graph on page 97 of the SIGAR report reveals the following number of security incidents per day:
- 41.1 incidents between November 16, 2012 and February 15, 2013.
- 64.4 incidents between May 16, 2013 and August 15, 2013.
- 57.4 incidents between August 16, 2013 and November 15, 2013.
- 50.5 incidents between November 16, 2013 and February 15, 2014.
- 63.7 incidents between March 1, 2014 and May 31, 2014.
- 71.8 incidents between June 1, 2014 and August 15, 2014.
- 56.5 incidents between August 16, 2014 and November 15, 2014.
- 55.2 incidents between November 16, 2014 and February 15, 2015
- 67.1 incidents between February 15 2015 and April 30, 2015.
- 66.3 incidents between May 1, 2015 and July 31, 2015.
- 71.8 incidents between August 1, 2015 and October 31, 2015.
- 52.1 incidents between December 1, 2015 and February 15, 2016.
These security incidents include blue on green attacks:
According to DID, 13,195 Coalition forces are serving in Afghanistan as of February 29, 2016. Of that number, approximately 8,850 are U.S. forces, of which 6,800 are supporting the RS train, advise, and assist mission. The remainder either conduct the U.S. counterterrorism mission or provide aviation, medical, logistical, and other support for U.S. forces.
Since the RS mission began in January 1, 2015, through February 29, 2016, 11 U.S. military personnel were killed in action, in addition to 10 non-hostile deaths, for a total of 21 U.S. military deaths. During this period, 76 U.S. military personnel were wounded in action. These numbers include the loss of one U.S. service member and wounding of two others in an operation in Helmand Province on January 5, 2016.
Seven U.S. civilians or contractors were killed, in addition to nine non-hostile deaths, for a total of 16 DOD, U.S. civilian, or contractor deaths. Nine DOD, U.S. civilian, or contractor personnel were wounded during this period.
Three of the 11 killed in action and 14 of the 76 wounded in action were the result of seven insider attacks. Insider attacks were also responsible for the death of three of the seven U.S. civilians killed and one of the nine wounded during this period. There were 69 insider attacks against the Afghan security forces during this period, resulting in the killing of 175 and the wounding of 70 Afghan security forces.
Contractors should understand the dangers associated with work overseas. And, if they are injured, then, Carriers should understand the environment in which the injured employee worked. Afghanistan is a dangerous place–and the danger is increasing.
Attribution: Photo courtesy of Flickr user DVIDSHUB.