Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, April 20th, 2018

Prospects for the Afghan Armed Forces in the NATO’s Warsaw Summit

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Prospects for the Afghan Armed Forces in the NATO’s Warsaw Summit

Afghanistan as a non-NATO member state but an ally in the war against terror will always remain a focal point when it comes to NATO’s foreign mission. NATO’s contribution in assisting the Afghan indigenous forces has been both plausible, and key to the ongoing battle against the Taliban. Afghan armed forces will extremely depend on this support for a foreseeable future till a financially self-reliant Afghanistan bear the cost of its own defense forces, and provide the budget for its effective operation.
Having a military partner like NATO is a huge advantage for the Afghan armed forces in the long run. They can get the best of their professional combat skills, and replicate the same to their future cadets and officers in the army. As we all know, disciplinary principles lay the foundation for a well organized, and goals oriented military force, the Afghan armed forces are gradually adapting these values and have utilized the skills on the battle field to trash their nemesis, the Taliban.
Almost all NATO member states are already helping out their Afghan counterparts in numerous vocational areas; the Italians for instance, have long been involved in judiciary reforms and training Afghan judges and attorneys, while the French have spent millions in capacity building in the educational system. The U.S. and U.K. are contributing both financially, and with boots on the ground under the auspices of NATO’s absolute support mission.
In addition, Germany a NATO member state has long been involved in the training process of the Afghan police. With their support, Afghanistan has become able to just have enough policing personnel to police its citizens, and to some extent curb day to day criminal activities. No doubt, the Afghan police still require sophisticated technological enhancements as DNA labs, biometric, and a nationally unified background check database to better prevent and address the increasing number of terror and criminal plots taking place in the country.
Furthermore, NATO’s member states are already providing roughly $ 4 billion annually to train, equip, and keep the Afghan army operational and mobilized. This commitment is pledged to proceed for another 4 years, by 2020 the Afghan government is scheduled to take the charge, and fund their operations on its own means.  Afghanistan, considering its current financial status will require both time and reform oriented policies to regenerate long dried up revenue sources for its operational costs, and gradually head towards a state fulfilling all its needs through its nationally funded budget.
Meanwhile, NATO’s aerial support in conducting night raids against the Taliban has helped them neutralize key Taliban commanders, and weaken their core commanding infrastructure. Unfortunately, Afghanistan is fighting terror at multiple fronts simultaneously; it is not only the Taliban, but also the IS militants who are building their footprints in eastern Afghanistan. The armed forces that are already ill-equipped and experiencing mismanagement in the leadership hierchy are incurring a huge casualty toll in the frontline. At this particular time, they need a positive reinforcement in equipment supplies and extraordinary commanders to provide them both the vision, and leadership to conduct successful military operations to minimize their casualties.
It is worth mentioning that the top Afghan military officials have realized the urgency to speed up the equipping process of the ANSF and have started a series of negotiations with the distant and close neighbors, the Afghan national security adviser is soon to pay an official visit to Moscow to discuss the same. Luckily all the regional countries have come to the understanding that the only way to keep terrorists at bay, and out of their respective borders is to join hands with Afghanistan and provide whatever they can to its military establishment.
As recently as last week, a top U.S. commander applauded the commitment and the patriotism the ANA have shown on the battle ground, the Afghan elite special forces is amongst the best in the region, capable of conducting sophisticated military operations as well as demonstrating leadership skills. I am sure there is a consensus in Kabul that the armed forces still need logistical and training support from their NATO counterparts for a good few years till they are both professionally and numerically ready to take the charge on their own, and provide the very much needed security to nation’s open borders and that of its citizens.

Historically great armies always rely on modern weaponry, and sophisticated technological advantages, with this said, the Afghan army largely lacks aircrafts to assist their ground forces when engaged with the enemy, the Afghan terrain requires specific military transport planes, capable of landing in harsh weather and supplying the military basis with the needed ammunition and medical support. NATO member states’ contribution in this regard will enable the ANSF to wage thriving offensive operations, and gradually stand on their own feet. Last but not least, the upcoming Warsaw conference is the right platform for the Afghan authorities to present a realistic proposal of their needs, and humbly request for the same to be fulfilled.

Naner Koshan is a freelance Afghan columnist based in Washington. He can be reached at naserkoshan@yahoo.com

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