In the seven areas that were handed over to Afghan security forces under first phase of security transition this summer, security is fragile and challenging. The Taliban are giving a very tough time to police and army in Hirat and Lashkargah cities of Afghanistan. Yet the Afghan ministries of Defense and Interior are working with UNAMA and NATO on formulating the second phase of security transition to Afghan forces.
It should be welcoming for Afghans that their soldiers are securing more role and responsibilities as their number, equipment and capacity are increasing with the support from international community. Actually, a competent, well-equipped and strong army is what Afghanistan has been in need of since long.
The strength of Afghan National Army and Police has become manifold since the initial years after Taliban were toppled. But at the same time, we have observed a worrying increase in the number of Taliban and frequency of their attacks with changing tactics.
The Taliban, Hizbe Islami, Haqqani and al Qaeda networks are giving a hard time to coalition and Afghan forces and are, undoubtedly, capable of launching large-scale attacks not only inside Afghanistan but also in and beyond this region. Therefore, according to military experts, the Afghan forces have a long way to go.
They can not turn strong and competent enough - until 2014 – to defend Afghanistan against the militants who, based on the expectation, will also become stronger until then. The army and police of Afghanistan needs more work and for longer terms.
The training and equipping process of Afghan forces must be bolstered. But, as matter of fact, the matter with Afghan police and army is not only limited to lack of training and equipment.
There are other problems too. Drop-out rates, addiction to drugs, corruption, link with Taliban and illiteracy form major obstacles in the way to professional Afghan police and army. If the international community is to hand over everything in regards of security to Afghan security forces in the next three years, it has to further bolster activities pertaining to training and equipping the Afghan forces and at the same counter all other less minor issues that can grow bigger in the future.