‘If the Americans go, then in one day it will collapse’: Afghan army haemorraghing soldiers as US talks peace with the Taliban

When Aziz Gilan was posted last year to help try to secure a notorious district south of the Afghan capital, his police unit should have been around 80 strong.

Instead when he was deployed to Baraki Barak in Logar province, shortages meant the headcount was only 25 and in the months of fighting with the Taliban that followed it dwindled further.

As bombs and ambushes mounted, nine of his colleagues were killed and six more badly wounded.

Such casualty rates among Afghan forces are not unusual. More than 17 years after the Taliban regime was ousted and after America alone has ploughed more than £60bn into the Afghan security forces, they are dying at the rate of hundreds per month.

That is the likely outcome but perhaps the best reason to leave. Kleptocracy’s do not make good allies.