By Gurmeet Kanwal
January 31, 2013
The security situation in Afghanistan has gradually but perceptibly begun to slip out of control due to the rapid draw-down of coalition forces. The NATO-ISAF strategy to “clear-hold-transfer-exit” has only partially succeeded in achieving its political and military goals. Due to structural as well as functional deficiencies, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF, army and police) are unlikely to be capable of assuming independent charge of security by the end of 2014.
Counter-insurgency operations are small-team operations in which success is heavily dependent on very high quality junior leadership. The standards of junior leadership in the ANSF leave much to be desired. Not only are the ANSF ill-trained and badly led, they are also poorly equipped.
The ANSF lack high mobility vehicles like the US ‘humvees’ and are incapable of launching quick reaction teams to either come to the aid of besieged patrols and ambush parties or to exploit fleeting opportunities. The Afghan army lacks firepower resources as it has not been given any artillery. In fact, combat service support elements like light helicopters for casualty evacuation are almost completely non-existent.
The rapid raising of new infantry battalions almost invariably results in a dilution in the quality of intake of recruits as the catchment area is limited. It also results in low standards of initial or basic training as the training period is reduced. Newly raised battalions in the best of armies take three to five years to settle down and build internal unit cohesion and esprit de corps.