Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

Afghan Security Forces are Yet to Stand on Their Own!

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Afghan Security Forces are Yet to Stand on Their Own!

As there have been concerns about the capability of Afghan security forces to take on the responsibilities of security of entire nation, at the same time there are serious concerns about financing the forces as without enough financial support the security forces will not be able to overpower the foes. After the withdrawal of international security forces and disengagement of international allies, there will be notable decline in the financial aid that is being used to keep the Afghan security forces functional. As the country is not economically stable enough to generate the funds for its security forces it would seek the assistance of international community in this regard.

To guarantee international support for Afghan security forces, Afghanistan government would discuss the support it would require from international community in the coming Tokyo Conference. The conference will be held on 5th of July this year and important members of international community will attend it. Janan Musazai, spokesperson for Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has said, "We hope Tokyo Conference could be an opportunity to win international political and financial support for another decade… One of the major discussions could be spending international aid through the government budget and considering priorities."

It is important that Afghan security forces receive support from international community for almost another decade if it is intended that Afghanistan must stand on its own as far as security is concerned. However, the international community does not seem in position to let the aids flow easily as the world's major economies themselves are facing serious economic challenges. Afghan National Security Forces would require about $6b for next year. That amount may be fulfilled but it is important to note that for the years to come after 2014, the required amount will keep on increasing.

According to expectations the Afghan forces may increase to 355,000 by the end of 2014. US will provide a major portion of aid for Afghan forces but with the international economic deceleration getting serious and a tiredness of decade of war, US does not seem to be in position to support a very lucrative budget for military purposes and has to bring about important changes in its strategies – especially the military ones. President Obama in this regard seems to be favoring the strategy of shrinking the overall size of the forces and keeping the military spending in check.

In fact, a decade of war has made US spend almost half a trillion dollar and it has to bring about important changes to keep the spending in check within the next decade. Obama's strategy emphasizes more on cyber warfare and unmanned drones and would make sure more US military presence in Asia and Asia Pacific as it has to focus on the endeavors of China and Iran to obstruct US power projection capabilities in area like the South China Sea and the Strait of Hormuz.

Last month Obama told a Pentagon news conference, "The tide of war is receding but the question that this strategy answers is what kind of military will we need long after the wars of the last decade are over." He has also mentioned, "Over the past 10 years, since 9/11, our defense budget grew at an extraordinary pace. Over the next 10 years, the growth in the defense budget will slow but the fact of the matter is this – it will still grow because we have global responsibilities that demand our leadership."

Though this strategy is with controversies, it would definitely play some role in bringing down the competition of military might provided that the other nations of the world also decide to put a check on their military spending. Managing and equipping that number of forces will be a great challenge and may prove to be a very difficult task; however, adjustments have to be made as failure to provide sufficient support to Afghan security forces would, in the long run, make the terrorists highhanded and would once again invite instability in the country, which would spoil billion of dollars that have been spent and thousand of lives that have been sacrificed.

With the concerns about the Afghan security forces in hand, the insecurity also seems to be increasing. It is important to note that the areas affected by insecurity do not include only the areas that have been insecure from the very beginning; rather they also include the areas that have been relatively very secure few years earlier. Even the capital Kabul has been influenced by the trend of deteriorating situation. Last few attacks in Kabul on the most secure buildings and the most important figures clearly ring the bell of approaching danger.

Apart from that, the areas surrounding Kabul have serious threats of insecurity. The names of Logar and Wardak in this regard can be taken without any hesitation. These areas have serious threats of insecurity and no one would dare to travel through the area once it is dark. These regions were considered quite save as early as two years ago but the scenario seems very much different now. Wardak was also the province where the Taliban shot down a US helicopter in August that killed 30 American troops, most of them belonged to elite Navy SEAL's.

While in another incident in Wardak 77 US soldiers were killed in a powerful bomb that hit the soldiers' bus. So, when the security is so much fragile in the areas including capital and its surrounding, no confident expectations can be made for the areas which are considered Taliban's stronghold, especially the Southern regions.

If Afghanistan is not able to get the support of international community for its security forces, it would be very difficult to keep the reign of Afghan government strong in different parts of the country. Afghan government, therefore, must try its level best to concentrate on its security mechanism as much as possible. On the other hand as the Afghan authorities are emphasizing that the aid money should be spent through Afghan government, they must also ensure that the process is made very much transparent and free of corruption. They can not afford to let the support serve corruption because the time, as it is getting very cruel, will not give another opportunity to Afghan nation to amend itself.

Dilawar Sherzai is the permanent writer of the Daily outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at dilawar.sherzai@gmail.com

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