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Thread: Afghan National Army (ANA) thread

  1. #101
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    Default More ANSF frowned upon?

    Costly coalition plan to recruit thousands more Afghan forces draws concerns

    This Washington Post article kind of threw me for a loop. Why would anyone object to setting ANSF and GIRoA up for success against the Taliban or any other possible resurgence of insurgents? I get that it will cost us more money over the next decade. But will it really cost us more than having to put boots-on-the-ground again to help Afghans squash a new insurgency that they are unable to defeat alone? And to the concern that it will take more foreign trainers: why not start filling those trainer billets with battle tested Afghans, even if just in part?

  2. #102
    Council Member IntelTrooper's Avatar
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    If the wrong tool is being used, success won't come with another 100,000 or 1,000,000 of them. We need to revisit how and why we are using the ANSF before we continue churning out more.
    "The status quo is not sustainable. All of DoD needs to be placed in a large bag and thoroughly shaken. Bureaucracy and micromanagement kill."
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  3. #103
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    Red face

    At a guess, I'd say that initial concerns will be based on a 'quality v quantity' argument...the size of the ANA/ANP/ANSF bears little or no relation to how effective they might or might not be against either a conventional or irregular threat and there are already many concerns that the current training programmes are more focussed on producing metrics that support this "irreversible transition" than forces that will be both effective and self-sustaining once the bolster of ISAF disappears...

  4. #104
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    This plan only makes sense if one of two conditions hold:

    1) We believe the Afghan forces will eventually have more success than NATO forces in militarily defeating the Taliban;

    or

    2) We believe the Afghan forces can do at least as well as NATO forces and we are willing to pay the $12 billion a year bill forever.

  5. #105
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    Inteltrooper,
    How would you suppose we use ANSF? I mean the current partnering system seems the most logical to me. And then transitioning to ANSF control as we are in parts of Helmand already seems like the next viable step. The increase isn't in combat troops but in intelligence (done by ISAF now), logistics(a failure of a system that they have now) and engineers (do they have engineers now?). This increase would allow them to eventually step in and do the jobs that we are doing now for them. It just seems logical.

  6. #106
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    National Guard. A well ordered Militia answering to Provincial Governors that are selected by the people of their Province, rather than appointed by GIROA. A military organization that by design fades back into the populace as the emergency subsides. That is a proven, cost effective solution to this problem.

    But then, such a process of picking legitimate governors or securing Afghans with locally recruited, trained, and employed militia is unconstitutional in Afghanistan. Too bad that.

    Looked at from an other perspective, I am always leery when such large increases of Tashkils are discussed. Too often in the ANP the District police chief will say all of his Tashkil billets are filled, yet he only has 12 of 75 officers present for duty. The rest are on leave, etc. No, the rest are mere names on paper and he pockets those salaries and uses the same to pay his patron for his position. Similarly he is authorized 20 vehicles, but only 5 are serviceable. The broken ones sit idle in motorpool. Broken vehicles don't burn gas, more money to his personal fund. Ah, but at least he has new AK-47s to arm his men, with 100 being delivered just a year ago. But now only 20 are accounted for, the rest sold to the Taliban for a tidy profit.

    What happens if the the West agrees to such a large bump in the ANA Tashkil? I suspect much the same, but only at the national level instead.

    Meanwhile, a very effective semi-private operator such as Matiullah Khan in Uruzgan, a COL in the ANP, with some 400 Tashkil billets, uses profits from his security company to arm, motorize, and deploy some 1000 men. Keeping route Bear from Kandahar to Tarin Kowt open; and working across tribal lines throughout Uruzgan as a (relatively, as all things are relative in Afghanistan) trusted broker to resolve disputes and dispense a hard, but just brand of law enforcement. When he goes to Kabul to ask to have his Tashkil expanded to address some of the hundreds of men he funds from his own pocket he is told of course, but that the cost is $50,000. He refuses. A couple weeks later he learns that action has been taken on his Tashkil even though he refused to pay this bribe. It has been cut by some 150 men. This is Afghanistan under the current constitution that vests virtually all patronage in one man.

    This is a fixable problem, but we have to be willing to take it on, and so far there has been little appetite (beyond pathetic lecturing) for truly holding Karzai to task to fix the disaster of a constitution that make all of this not only possible, but legal.
    Robert C. Jones
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    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  7. #107
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    This plan only makes sense if one of two conditions hold:

    1) We believe the Afghan forces will eventually have more success than NATO forces in militarily defeating the Taliban;

    or

    2) We believe the Afghan forces can do at least as well as NATO forces and we are willing to pay the $12 billion a year bill forever.
    I disagree on both.

    1) There is a great cost associated with the use of Western forces, and this factors into the consideration. The ANA does not need to be "more successful" (or less unsuccessful). Success is on the plus side, while costs are on the minus side. ANA has a smaller minus side, thus it doesn't need to offer as much on the plus side.

    2) The first part is a repeat of the first point and I already commented that. The $ 12 billion are NOT cast in stone. The influx of $$$ created this unnaturally high pay level for Afghan mercenaries, it will dwindle once the influx of $$$ is reduced. Afghan mercenaries could in 2015 cost a third or fifth as much as today if we reduced Western influx of $$$ to two or three $ billion/yr.

  8. #108
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    National Guard. Now that makes sense.

    Too often in the ANP the District police chief will say all of his Tashkil billets are filled, yet he only has 12 of 75 officers present for duty. The rest are on leave, etc. No, the rest are mere names on paper and he pockets those salaries and uses the same to pay his patron for his position.
    Yes this is a big issue among the ANP but is a much smaller issue within the ANA. That is IMO due to the fact that we are partnering with the ANA. With the ANP we are simply using PMTs who go to those districts a couple days a month (up to a week in troubled districts) and then beyond that the ANP are left on their own. First, the ANP should not be used to "fight" the insurgency. That is more the role of the ANA.

    The biggest problem that I see when looking forward in Afghanistan is the fact that the constitution does not allow the government to collect taxes from Afghans. If we are going to encourage GIRoA to rework its constitution then we need to have a look at this too. But the explanation that I was given when I was told this was that it was against Islam to tax muslims?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-19-2011 at 08:53 AM. Reason: Insert quote marks

  9. #109
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    I didn't hear about such a constitution article yet, but there are different ways for state income anyway; tariffs, selling concessions, confiscate, state-owned businesses, fees.

  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by JM2008 View Post
    National Guard. Now that makes sense.
    I pretty much agree with everything COL Jones said and would go on to say that the American battlespace owners should only be supporting the ETTs/PMTs/ODAs/etc. who would be permanently embedded advising their particular element.

    With the ANP we are simply using PMTs who go to those districts a couple days a month (up to a week in troubled districts) and then beyond that the ANP are left on their own. First, the ANP should not be used to "fight" the insurgency. That is more the role of the ANA.
    The ANP are a complete and total disaster. We don't have a clear idea of what they are supposed to be doing and neither do they. In the meantime, they victimize every one in sight. Provide elements in the ANA with law enforcement powers to work in tandem with combat operations. Once an area has been legitimately cleared and held, we can start figuring out what we need to do as far as law enforcement. And it needs to be a local solution.
    "The status quo is not sustainable. All of DoD needs to be placed in a large bag and thoroughly shaken. Bureaucracy and micromanagement kill."
    -- Ken White


    "With a plan this complex, nothing can go wrong." -- Schmedlap

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  11. #111
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    The new troops would round out the Afghan security forces with more military intelligence units, engineers, logisticians and other specialists, according to U.S. military officials. Looks like we are trying to model them in our own image, and violating a pretty decent rule of what to avoid

    Through war games and modeling, coalition officials landed on a low-end estimate of 352,000 Afghan security forces needed by October 2012. If the Afghans meet goals to curb high desertion rates among soldiers and police, the foreign donors would agree to raise the total to 378,000, U.S. officials said. As others have said, we just need to do a whole lot better working to improve the capacity of the ones we have. That is, of course, once we figure out exactly where they are, get them to the area where they are supposed to be aligned, and make them actually work either fighting the fight, or policing their assigned AO. There remains too much fleecing and graft going on, beyond any sort of "supplemental" corruption that we saw in Iraq.

    "We actually could cut police training from six weeks to three and train twice as many, but we didn't do that," the senior U.S. military official said. "That's the range that gets you both quantity and quality." I've never understood the methodology followed to the training, and who came up with this "range" of quality and quantity. Quantity is great, if you want to bully your way into the market and strong-arm the locals. Quality doesn't need that quite as much.

    By late summer, the army and police must begin recruiting if they are to aim for these higher targets, so "we're only about seven months out from having to hire people," the military official said.
    ...

  12. #112
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    Provide elements in the ANA with law enforcement powers to work in tandem with combat operations. Once an area has been legitimately cleared and held, we can start figuring out what we need to do as far as law enforcement. And it needs to be a local solution.
    I agree with that idea too. I think that this would allow us to effectively partner with the ANP without the need for more troops.

    I never understood the reliance on national police anyway. It wouldn't even work in the US. We have national law enforements entities but the vast bulk of the police work is done at the local level by either sherrif or city police. Maybe there is a reason that I have missed but it just doesn't make sense.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-20-2011 at 10:35 PM. Reason: Use quote marks, PM to author

  13. #113
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    I know it doesn't work in AFG either, but using a national instead of local police is at times a necessity.

    Local officials should be avoided in countries with subtle corruption problems because such officials become too often corrupt.

    National officials can reduce the problem, unless the problem is an overt (and large) one. In that case I have to ask why set up a police in the first place? It does no good.

  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    I know it doesn't work in AFG either, but using a national instead of local police is at times a necessity.

    Local officials should be avoided in countries with subtle corruption problems because such officials become too often corrupt.

    National officials can reduce the problem, unless the problem is an overt (and large) one. In that case I have to ask why set up a police in the first place? It does no good.
    In Afghanistan, the temptation of corruption would be curbed if the local tribe influenced the police because they were from that area. They would also fight harder, and be less inclined to fleece the locals, since they have to go home on leave at some point.

    The counterpoint to this is that yes, local leaders might be more able to bribe the police to secure the release of a detainee, or the local police might be more inclined to look the other way or otherwise tacitly support the local insurgent.

    We have already picked a side in the debate, and it is causing so many logistical and employment issues that it does not make sense to continue with the policy of recruiting officers from out of the area and shipping them off to another district.

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    In Afghanistan, the temptation of corruption would be curbed if the local tribe influenced the police because they were from that area. They would also fight harder, and be less inclined to fleece the locals, since they have to go home on leave at some point.

    The counterpoint to this is that yes, local leaders might be more able to bribe the police to secure the release of a detainee, or the local police might be more inclined to look the other way or otherwise tacitly support the local insurgent.
    So how do we use local police but have a checks and balances system that deters those local police from taking bribes? Is it that we have a local police force that has embedded Internal Affairs who report directly to the MoI but are not from the area? And have stiff penalties for police who are caught accepting bribes? Maybe a 3 times and your out kind of deal where the first time you are repremanded (maybe even publicly), the second time you are reassigned, and the third time you spend a year in jail and are discharged. But in order to insure that the police are not the target of reprisal from the IA guys, once a police officer is accused of accepting bribes (or other misconduct) they are suspended and an investigation is launched by the MoI through an independant panel.

    What are the thoughts on a system like this?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-20-2011 at 10:36 PM. Reason: Quote marks

  16. #116
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    The Lacedaemonians and Republican Romans had an interesting system; two men for every one office. They check & balance each other, you only need to make sure they're not friends and you also need to bear the resulting friction.

    Alternatively, use the PRChinese approach: Summary executions of corrupt medium-level officials.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Alternatively, use the PRChinese approach: Summary executions of corrupt medium-level officials.
    Made me think of a line from The Wire.

    "Bunny" Colvin: Middle management means that you got just enough responsibility to listen when people talk, but not so much you can't tell anybody to go __ themselves.

    More to the point of the conversation, JM2008's suggestion about Federal IA officers supervising local police kind of reminded me of the "Political Officers" or "Commisars" that the Red Army supposedly had. I'm not pretending to know much about how they were actually employed or their efficacy, but it seemed an interesting parallel.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-20-2011 at 10:36 PM. Reason: Quote marks

  18. #118
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    Default Afghan Army’s Turnover Threatens U.S. Strategy

    Note: I expect there have been posts about the ANA / ANSF elsewhere, notably 'green on blue' but this thread is for the ANA.

    So catching up on my reading of Kings of War:http://kingsofwar.org.uk/2012/10/willy-wonkas-war/ a hat tip to them for this NYT article:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/16/wo...&smid=fb-share

    KoW highlights, citing an Afghan general:
    We’re not concerned about getting enough young men,just as long as we get that $4.1 billion a year from NATO.
    I found these snippets of note, partly as I cannot recall seeing them of late:
    Now at its biggest size yet, 195,000 soldiers, the Afghan Army is so plagued with desertions and low re-enlistment rates that it has to replace a third of its entire force every year....a 3% rejection rate for recruits....in June..there are still no units that American trainers consider able to operate entirely without NATO assistance.....the Army’s desertion rate is now 7 to 10 percent...Put another way, a third of the Afghan Army perpetually consists of first-year recruits fresh off a 10- to 12-week training course.
    davidbfpo

  19. #119
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    Default Progress is slow in 2012: 2014 is close

    The Pentagon released its bi-annual assessment of the war in Afghanistan, which shows security is increasing in populated areas, even if violence is up. The report also shows that only one of the 23 Afghan National Army brigades is capable of operating independently without air or other military support from U.S. or international forces. A senior defense official who briefed reporters at the Pentagon said the "fighting capability" of the Afghan forces and the fact that they carry out independent operations at many levels, even if those operations require coalition support, means they are far more capable than they were.
    Link to NYT report:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/11/wo...says.html?_r=0

    Link to DoD report:http://www.defense.gov/news/1230_Report_final.pdf
    davidbfpo

  20. #120
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    Default Transition comes at a price

    An IISS Strategic Comment 'Afghanistan's security transition reaches key point', which covers a number of subjects and is optimistic. This caught my attention as it illustrates bloodily what transition means:
    As a result of the ANSF taking the tactical lead in many areas, including those in which insurgents were more active, ANA casualties doubled in 2012 to 1,056. This casualty rate is double that of the other Afghan security forces. While 42% of the 315 NATO fatalities in 2012 were as a result of IEDs, over 80% of ANA fatalities were caused in this way, a stark demonstration of their lower level of counter-IED capability.
    Link:http://www.iiss.org/publications/str...hes-key-point/
    davidbfpo

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