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Afghan soldier deaths reach record level in 2012

More than 1000 Afghan soldiers died in 2012, a 20 percent increase from 2011.

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Afghan soldiers died at a record number in 2012, a sharp jump from a year earlier. (Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images)

Afghan soldier deaths jumped sharply in 2012 setting a record for most deaths in a single year since the beginning of the war.

More than 1000 Afghan soldiers died in 2012, a 20 percent increase from 2011.

The New York Times reported that Afghan National Army deaths have often been higher than international forces, but the new numbers show how wide that margin has become.

NATO forces lost 400 troops in 2012, the lowest number since 2008.

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As NATO forces scale down for the 2014 exit, Afghan soldiers have begun taking more frontline roles in the war against the Taliban.

The Afghan National Army has swelled in ranks over the last several years to nearly 200,000.

The New York Times pointed out that the numbers reveal a bigger role for the Afghan army but also questions about whether it is able to handle greater responsibility when international troops leave.

The Afghan army also faces other troubling problems.

Desertion, low re-enlistment rates and low morale are huge issues that the ANA has faced, said AFP.

It is said that the government is forced to replace one third of its troops every year.

There has also been an increasing number of insider attacks of Afghan soldiers killing their NATO trainers.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/afghanistan/121230/afghan-soldier-deaths-reach-record-level-2012