Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Australia Committed to Afghanistan despite Losses

The infiltration of Afghan National Army (ANA) has been a matter of great concern for the Western allies of Afghanistan. On Saturday, 29 October, the ANA soldier gunned down the Australian members of Mentoring Task Force 3, an Afghan interpreter and injured seven others just as they ended a regular weekly parade at a forward operating base at Shah WaliKot in Kandahar province. Three Australians - a corporal, captain and lance corporal - were killed, making it the single deadliest attack on Australian forces during the entire Afghanistan campaign. In June, Australian Lance Corporal Andrew Jones was shot dead by an Afghan soldier. Over the last few years, there have been a number of such incidents increasing concerns of military commanders.

In response to such incidents, the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard defending her country's involvement in Afghanistan said, "We cannot allow our will to be undermined by incidents like this." She said, "If we were to leave now the Afghanistan/Pakistan border area would again become a breeding ground for international terrorism, and Australians have been on the receiving end of international terrorism," he said. Australia has about 1500 soldiers in Afghanistan mainly functioning in Oruzgan province. The commitment of Australian government towards Afghanistan despite losses is laudable.

The killing of foreign soldiers by Afghan security forces signal that there are people in Afghan National Army and Police who take salary from government but work for Taliban. They are also believed to be assisting the Taliban in undertaking operations against government and NATO forces. This is very dangerous for the lives of foreign and national mentors and reputation of Afghan security forces.

The Taliban also claim that they have spies in Army and Police of Afghanistan who work for them. Afghan National Army is the most reputable organization that has come into existence as a result of nine year international effort.

The future security of Afghanistan is completely dependent on its army. However, incidents in which foreign soldiers are killed by Afghans army or police increase the concerns about the presence of extremists in the army and police.

The drawdown of foreign forces from Afghanistan has already begun from mid of this year and will be completed until 2014. The security transition process also continues with its one phase completed and the other going to be made public soon. US has announced that it will at one hand concentrate on equipping and training Afghan forces while at the other boost military operations against the insurgents so that their momentum could be reversed. It was planned that 11.6 billion dollars would be spent over the capacity building of the Afghan security forces in 2011.

But military experts maintain that these forces still have a long way to go. In the next three years (that is until 2014) it is believed that NATO forces would give a full stop to their combat role. But this period is not enough for the Afghan security forces to become fully capable of defending Afghanistan against Taliban and other groups of terrorists on their own.

The indication of presence of insurgents in the vital organizations such as army and police further increase the concerns about the future security of Afghanistan. Snake in the glass is always dangerous and therefore, optimal efforts should be put at the time of recruitment. Also the background of each soldier should be checked, verified and confirmed.