In November 2016, The Associated Press (AP) quoting some sources from the United Nations has estimated the total number of militants in Afghanistan between 40,000 to 45,000; however, if the militant casualty figures daily released by government are gathered, the result will be far higher than the estimated number.
The Ministry of Defense (MoF), meanwhile, argues that since there is a guerrilla war in Afghanistan, the number of casualties of insurgents is also not exact; it is rather estimated.
Gen. Zalmay Wardak, a military expert, said the government exaggerated about the casualty figures of insurgents apparently in a bid to boost the morale of ANDSF, but the measure was counterproductive. "The government lies and releases false numbers every day, which undermines the government’s credibility among people, and also does more harm than good to ANDSF.”
Talking to The Heart of Asia, Wardak stressed if the death toll reported by government, especially the security institutions, was compiled, it would show the number of militants killed higher than those operating in Afghanistan.
By the same token, Waqifullah Rohani, a member of Kabul Provincial Council, believed the ministries of defense and interior were overestimating the figures to portray that they were active and successful in their duties.
"The government should provide evidence to support their claims of militants' causality", he told The Heart of Asia, calling on the government to share information about the identities of the killed and display their weapons if showing their dead bodies was not appropriate.
The government's figures could well be extrapolated from the reported casualties of the latest bombing in Nangarhar’s Achin district, where neither Afghan forces nor anyone else has gone yet, but the government claims that about 100 Daesh terrorists have been killed.
Gen. Dawlat Waziri, the MoD spokesman, says the rebel casualty figures they release are approximate.
He revealed to The Heart of Asia: "Our statistics are imprecise and is based on intelligence. We do not count the dead bodies, but based on intelligence information and estimation, we declare the number of killed and wounded persons".
“Our casualty figures are approximate and based on intelligence information. We don’t count dead bodies. We announce the number of insurgent killed or wounded as per estimation and intelligence,” he told The Heart of Asia.
With respect to the number of insurgent casualties all over the country, Waziri said the war in Afghanistan was a guerrilla war and that the number of militants could change by a thousand on daily basis.
According to the MoD spokesman, the number of militants can reach 30,000 in winter, while it exceeds 60,000 as religious schools in Pakistan take breaks in summer.