written by Sayed Sharif Amiry
25 September 2014
Formation of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and development of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) were among President Hamid Karzai’s top priorities during his 13 year presidency.
Now as his term comes to an end, Karzai leaves behind his presidential legacy with security forces able to protect the nation despite all challenges.
According to the Ministry of Defense (MoD), if the ANA is provided with necessary arms and weaponries, the forces could be regionally unique.
“We can count on the ANA on a regional level,” MoD spokesman Zahir Azimi said. “With more investments, the ANA could be unique in the region.”
Meanwhile, critics have stated that the ANSF’s ability to maintain security in many parts of the country is questionable, adding that the forces have missed massive opportunities for growth.
After the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 through 2005, security was not a major issue for the Karzai and his administration. However, the Taliban were able to regain their capabilities and disrupt the security once again starting with rising insecurities in 2007.
“Helmand, for instance, didn’t face any major threats until 2007,” MP Shukria Barakzai said. “Regrettably, lack of good governance, lack of coordination among politicians and the U.S. war in Iraq contributed to the rising insecurities in Afghanistan.”
The ANA has conducted at least 6,000 nighttime military operations and has accomplished major military tasks despite the lack of sufficient artillery.
“We still have no defending army, it is only an anti-rebel army, it still has long ways to go,” military commentator Jawed Kohistani said.
The total number of soldiers serving in the ANA ranks is about 150,000, with an additional 195,000 in the Afghan National Police (ANP) branch.
With the new president being inaugurated on Monday, the new government’s approach to the ANA’s future and development is a major topic of discussion.