ANA Climbs Out Of Twilight Zone

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by Aref Musavi

TOLO news

18 September 2016

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The Afghan National Army (ANA) battling insurgency in the northern parts of the country has changed its war strategy from a defensive one to an offensive position and are systematically attacking insurgent strongholds, military officials confirmed.

“Now we are not in a defensive position, everyone knows that we attacked insurgents in Sar-e-Pul province and advanced up to Masjid-e-Sabz and Deh Mordeh villages. Also we attacked the Taliban in Baghlan and our operation is ongoing in Kunduz as well,” said General Mohmand Katawazai, a military official in the north.

Katawazai added that Afghan security forces are targeting the enemy but that they are having difficulties destroying Taliban strongholds in remote areas.

He said that the Afghan security forces are not afraid of the risks as they advance on the insurgents.

Meanwhile, military officials in the north have said the Taliban’s “Omari” operation – their summer offensive – has failed and that in the past five months a large number of insurgent have been killed in the north and south-east of the country.

“In the recent five months, 1,010 insurgents were killed and their bodies remained on the battlefields,” said General Hasibullha Quraishi, a special forces commander in northern Balkh province.

Quraishi added: “Around 405 wounded insurgents have been arrested by security forces. We can say that intelligence forces have confirmed this.”

He added that Afghan security forces also had sustained casualties, but their numbers were less.

However, the Kohistanat district in Sar-e-Pul province has been under Taliban control for the past year while a few other districts in the province are under serious threat.

Asked why an operation has not been launched to retake Kohistanat district from the Taliban, Mohammad Zahir Wahdat, governor of Sar-e-Pul, said: “The reason why a large-scale operation has not been launched in Kohistanat, I think is because security forces, the president, the chief executive, ministers and other security sectors are busy trying to solve the problems.”

However, he did not clarify what he meant by the word problems.

Officials have however urged the public to cooperate with security forces and to not listen to the propaganda of insurgents.

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http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/27314-ana-changes-war-strategy-in-northern-zone

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Afghan Army Raises Recruitment Age

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by Tim Craig

The Washington Post

via Stars & Stripes

February 4, 2016

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KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan army, struggling to defeat a resilient Taliban, has begun enlisting men as old as 40 to replenish a force thinned by casualties, defections and attrition.

The decision to raise the age limit for recruits to 40 from 35 was quietly made last month in response to pressure from the U.S.-led coalition, said Brig. Gen. Dawlat Waziri, chief spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry.

“There was concern among our international friends, and also among Afghans, that we would not be able fulfill recruitment targets that we have for the new year,” Waziri said.

The strength of the Afghan National Army has been a long-standing concern for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, but the force’s shortcomings came into sharper focus last year.

Despite more than $35 billion in U.S. support over the past 15 years, the Afghan army struggled to repel a major Taliban offensive this past fall into Kunduz, a commercial hub in northern Afghanistan, taking days to regain control.

The Taliban also made gains in several northern and eastern provinces last year, heightening concerns that the Afghan army is stretched too thin to defend the country against the radical Islamist group’s persistent insurgency, as well as efforts by the Islamic State to gain a foothold.

In a report to Congress last week, John F. Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, said Afghan forces control only 70 percent of the country and that the Taliban now controls more territory than at any point since 2001, when it was ousted from power in Kabul after five years of brutal rule.

Many analysts believe the Afghan army suffered a record number of casualties last year, although it has not released specific figures. Col. Michael T. Lawhorn, director of public affairs for the U.S.-led coalition, said Afghan forces suffered a 28 percent increase in casualties in 2015.

Lawhorn said Gen. John F. Campbell, commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, has been urging the Afghan army change how it recruits and deploys its soldiers.

Besides simplifying the recruitment process, Campbell has advised army commanders to shift soldiers from checkpoints into more mobile infantry units. The army also has to be large enough that it can more easily cycle soldiers between combat and leave time, Lawhorn said.

“What has happened the last couple years is some of these units have been in battle the entire time,” Lawhorn said. “So this winter, what we are trying to do is rebuild, reequip and re-man.”  Waziri said Afghan military commanders hope about 5 to 10 percent of recruits will come from the 35-to-40 age bracket.
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The Afghan army has a targeted strength of 195,000 soldiers, but it has consistently failed to meet its recruitment goals. In his report to Congress, Sopko said the force currently claims about 170,000 soldiers. But that figure may be inflated, he cautioned.
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Last month, an Associated Press investigation found that official Afghan army enlistment numbers probably include thousands of “ghost soldiers” who do not regularly report for duty or who have retired, defected to the Taliban or been killed.

With the move to accept recruits up to age 40, it appears as if the Afghan military will have one of the world’s least restrictive age requirements for military service.

Neighboring Pakistan, for example, generally does not accept infantry recruits older than 23, according to military officials in that country. India generally does not accept infantry recruits older than 24.

But in recent years, the U.S. military has also loosened some of its own age requirements for enlistment.

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http://www.stripes.com/news/middle-east/stretched-by-fight-against-taliban-afghan-army-raises-recruitment-age-1.392246

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Col. Sheena Johnson & The Ants

   by Rawclyde!

Thousands of ants

Tumble across the raggedy ground

At the feet of Col. Sheena Johnson

& her faithful hubby Habibullah

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The couple sit cross-legged honing arrowheads of Sufi bliss

In front of the commander’s imported Native American teepee

“I’ve never seen a horde of ants like this,” says ex-Talib Habibullah

“I wonder where they are going?”

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Elder Haji Mujadooti having trudged up the mountain-ridge trail

Stands out of breath amidst the horde of ants, tries to say something

He slaps his pants frantically, falls down, rolls around spastically

Thus disrupting the peaceful scene with idiotic old-man antics

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Covered head to toe with angry biting ants

He heroically stands up & despite the pain he is suffering

Says to Habibulla’s infidel wife,  “Do something, Sheena!

Our courageous Afghan soldiers are dying below!”

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Ahhh!

The commander knows Afghanistan

She knows Taliban & she knows ants too

She arises

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The empress of the Afghaneeland village of Pluckame

Pulls Haji Mujadooti out of the jam in which he stands

“Darling husband, please tend to this poor wise man”

Habibullah smiles, arises & does as bidden

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Barefoot, Sheena steps into the rapidly moving horde of angry ants

Not one lousy insect crawls onto one toe of the formidable goddess

She stands erect as the Rock of Gibraltar & prays to St. Joan of Arizona

Who in a distant land relays the message to heaven

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And by God, Sheena’s Sufi bow materializes in her held out hand

Sufi armor crackles sparsely here & there on her outrageously perfect body

She picks up a freshly cut & carved & honed world-peace arrow

Fits it to the bow string, aims, shuts her eyes, let’s it go

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The cosmic forces of the universe gather upon the arrowhead point

Thrust forward into the oblivion of every Taliban brain below

Capt’n Chuck Fiddler’s Afghaneeland Sufi Bubble

& divine revelations explode!!! 

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Suddenly beyond anybody’s wildest expectation

There are no more Taliban in the tumultuous nation of Afghanistan

The insurgents have transformed into the silliest looking little ants ever seen

All carrying rifles tinier than toothpicks

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Pvt. Ghani Gandhara gut-shot and breathing his last breath

Picks up one of these purple insects on the end of his thumb & smiles

The Afghan National Army defending the nation’s new democracy shall prevail

Pvt. Gandhara leaps beyond the veil… 

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Text / Copyright Clyde Collins 2014

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Col. Sheena Johnson at the helm of

Capt’n Chuck Fiddler’s Afghaneeland Sufi Bubble

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Afghaneeland Adventure Series | Old Timer Chronicle II

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4,100 Afghan Soldiers Long Gone

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by Mirwais Adeel

Khaama Press (KP)

Jul 22 2015

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At least 4,100 service members of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Police (ANP) forces have lost their lives during the first six months of the year 2015.

The latest statistic regarding the Afghan National Security Forces casualties was disclosed in a report by the New York Times which shows a 50% increase as compared to the first six months of the year 2014.

According to the Times, the data regarding the Afghan forces casualties was provided by an official with the American-led coalition.

The data also revealed at least 7,800 service members of the Afghan National Security Forces were wounded during the same period.

In the meantime, the Afghan officers identified desertion as a serious problem saying that many soldiers were simply being barred from going home and required to fight on the frontlines for months straight.

The considerable growth in Afghan forces casualties comes as the Taliban-led insurgency has also been rampant with Afghan commanders and officials in key battleground areas saying that while Afghan forces nominally hold key areas, they are often penned in by Taliban forces.

Abdul Hadi Khalid a retired Afghan Lieutenant General told the Times “We are in a passive defense mode — we are not chasing the enemy,” and called the mounting casualties “grave.”

Mirdad Khan Nejrabi a member of Afghanistan’s parliament said that while the casualties were “very concerning” there would be no large-scale collapse of Afghan forces.

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The Afghan National Army (ANA)

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written by Sayed Sharif Amiry

TOLO news

25 September 2014

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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.

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http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16517-ana-one-of-karzais-top-legacies

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