- Title: Afghan forces demand support to fight insurgency in eastern Nangarhar
- Date: 30th May 2017
- Summary: CHAPARHAR, NANGARHAR, AFGHANISTAN (MAY 24, 2017) (REUTERS) AFGHAN ARMY SOLDIERS STOPPING CARS FOR ROAD BLOCK NEAR THE AREA WHERE THEY FIGHT ISLAMIC STATE MILITANTS AN AFGHAN ARMY SOLDIERS SEARCHING DRIVER OF A RICKSHAW VARIOUS OF AFGHAN ARMY SOLDIERS SEARCHING PEOPLE ON THE STREET AFGHAN ARMY TANK IN THE AREA WHERE THEY FIGHT IS MILITANTS TANK GUNNER VARIOUS OF AFGHAN FORCES ARMOURED CONVOY COMMANDER OF THE 201ST SELAB MILITARY CORPS, BRIGADIER GENERAL MOHAMMAD NASIM SANGIN AND SOLDIERS WALKING OUT OF THEIR BASE (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) COMMANDER OF THE 201ST SELAB MILITARY CORPS, BRIGADIER GENERAL MOHAMMAD NASIM SANGIN, SAYING: "NATO should help us with training, equipment and provide us financial aid, on the battlefield we know our land better and can defeat our enemies ourselves." VARIOUS OF MOHAMMAD NASIM TALKING ON THE RADIO WHILE SITTING INSIDE ARMOURED VEHICLE (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) COMMANDER OF THE 201ST SELAB MILITARY CORPS, BRIGADIER GENERAL MOHAMMAD NASIM SANGIN, SAYING: "To avoid insurgents' return we have to have bases in the area but we lack soldiers. We carry out operations and push the insurgents to the mountains but later I have to take my forces to other places for operations and as soon as we abandon the area insurgents return." VARIOUS OF AFGHAN ARMY SOLDIER SCANNING THE AREA USING BINOCULAR VARIOUS OF AFGHAN ARMY SOLDIERS PATROLLING AFGHAN ARMY SOLDIER WALKING OVER BARBED WIRE AFGHAN ARMY SOLDIER SITTING BEHIND TANK GUNNER FARMER WORKING IN FIELD WITH TRACTOR (SOUNDBITE) (Pashto) AFGHAN ARMY SOLDIER, ASADULLAH KHAN, SAYING: "Americans dropped the mother of all bombs in Achin district but they should support us instead. If we get support I challenge the world that we will not allow Daesh to raise their heads not only in Afghanistan but all over the world." VARIOUS OF AFGHAN FORCES GATHERED NEAR BASE VARIOUS OF SOLDIERS COOKING FOOD AFGHAN FLAG (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) COMMANDER FOR THE 201ST SELAB MILITARY CORPS FORTH BRIGADE, MOHABAT, SAYING: "Foreign forces are our brothers and friends and they should support us. They should equip us and they should provide us light and heavy weapons and air support but I do not think that their men are favourable at the time." AFGHAN ARMY GUNNER SOLDIERS PATROLLING THE AREA CHAPARHAR DISTRICT WHERE AFGHAN FORCES BATTLE IS MILITANTS
- Embargoed: 13th June 2017 09:22
- Keywords: NATO troops afghan army support USA insurgents
- Location: CHAPARHAR, NANGARHAR, AFGHANISTAN
- City: CHAPARHAR, NANGARHAR, AFGHANISTAN
- Country: Afghanistan
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Insurgencies
- Reuters ID: LVA0016J19A2V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: As the United States and its NATO allies decide whether to increase the number of troops assigned to Afghanistan, local forces on the ground demand more troops and equipment to beat insurgents.
Brigadier General Mohammad Nasim Sangin has been leading his brigade in a clearing operation to drive insurgent fighters out of Chaparhar district, a fertile area of mud-walled compounds dotted with poppy fields ready for harvest.
A soldier since his teenage years with the anti-Soviet Mujahideen in the 1980s, Sangin says he needs more troops and equipment to beat the Taliban and other insurgent groups and hold on to ground his soldiers take.
But one thing he does not want, is foreign troops returning to frontline combat in Afghanistan.
The occasional rattle of machine gun fire can be heard from the fighting a couple of kilometres away but he says the operation has gone well, with the district centre now clear at the cost of only a handful of casualties.
His soldiers are also confident they can deal with the insurgents but all agree to say they need more support.
As U.S. officials prepare plans that are widely expected to see up to 5,000 more military trainers sent to Afghanistan, fears have grown that even the relatively modest increase being talked about could be a prelude to the United States being sucked back into the war.
Despite upbeat assurances from foreign and Afghan officials about progress in improving leadership and fighting endemic corruption, the security forces have struggled to contain the widening Taliban insurgency and now control no more than 60 percent of the country.
Official figures are patchy but at least 807 soldiers and police were killed in the first six weeks of the year after 6,785 in the first 10 months of 2016. Privately, many officials say the real numbers are even higher.
As well as the heavy casualties, a third of the security forces does not re-enlist every year and the actual number of troops available for duty is far below official totals, leaving frontline troops increasingly stretched.
Even in Nangarhar, a stronghold of Islamic State militants but otherwise a relatively stable province, the army is now conducting active operations in nine districts, compared with just three last year, officers said.
There are already 8,400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led Resolute Support training and assistance mission as well as a separate counter-terrorism mission that has been particularly active against Islamic State fighters in Nangarhar. That compares with more than 100,000 at the height of the war.
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