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Old 02-09-2007   #1
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Default Afghan National Army (ANA) thread

As the war and reconstruction efforts move forward the time for security reconstruction is here. The ability to train ANSF to handle there own security is paramount to successful reconstruction efforts. This is also not simple task and requires close interagency coordination. I would be interested in hearing some expierences and theorys on this topic. As we move forward from Iraq through Afghanistan and onto somehwere else the lessons we learn may help. We must apply lessons learned rather than relearning them. Interagency coordination also seems to be a hot topic lately (Killcullen, three pillars of Counter-Insurgency) (USG Counter insurgency Conference, Sep 2006).

V/r

Bryan

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Old 04-24-2007   #2
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Default Afghanis 'May Not be Ready' in 2009

22 April Globe and Mail - Afghanis 'May Not be Ready' in 2009.

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The commander of Canadian forces in Afghanistan says it is uncertain if the Afghan military will be able to go it alone by 2009.

But Brigadier-General Tim Grant says Canadian efforts have already paid plenty of dividends to the people of Afghanistan...

He says there's a plan and a schedule in place to ensure Afghan National Army troops are trained and up to speed before a possible Canadian pullout two years from now.

But he says the jury is still out on whether the shattered country will be ready to go it alone if international assistance forces leave in 2009...
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Old 04-24-2007   #3
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I'd lay good money down that the ANA won't be ready by 2019 if ever. The primary loyalties of most Afghans do not lie with the Karzai government.
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Old 04-26-2007   #4
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Afghan soldiers failing to reenlist.

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Less than half of the fledgling Afghan National Army's 32,000 British and US-trained soldiers have chosen to re-enlist after three years in uniform, according to figures obtained by The Herald.

The 42% retention rate means Nato troops will have to shoulder the burden for security, and the casualties that go with it, well beyond the three-year mission authorised by the UK government - and due to expire in 2009.

Plans to train and field a 70,000-strong national force are already running two years behind schedule, and only about 20,000 local soldiers can be located with their units at any given time. Although desertion rates have slowed from the 50% recorded in 2005, the Afghan troops are unhappy with rates of pay, £40 a month for new recruits, as well as lack of basic equipment and poor logistics ...
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Old 04-27-2007   #5
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Yes, that was but one minor issue with a force riddled with major issues.
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Old 05-02-2007   #6
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Default Afghan Forces Range From Ragtag to Ready

2 May NY Times - As Funding Increases, Afghan Forces Range From Ragtag to Ready by C. J. Chivers.

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... These wildly contrasting glimpses of Afghanistan’s security forces illustrate the mix of achievements and frustrations that have accompanied international efforts to create a capable Afghan Army and a police force after decades of disorder and war. They also underscore the urgency behind the renewed push to recruit and train these units, which is now under way with an influx of equipment and training approved by the Bush administration last year.

Yet, even after several years of efforts to create new army and police units, it remains difficult to fully assess their readiness. Some units, especially in the army, are motivated and much better equipped than any Afghan forces were five years ago. Others, especially in the police, remain visibly ragtag, underequipped, disorganized, of uncertain loyalty and with links to organized drug rings.

American officials say it will take at least a few years before most of the Afghan forces become more ready and reliable, and perhaps a decade before they are capable of independent operations. But they also say that the resources and plans are now in place to make such ambitions possible.

These ambitions are important because American military officials say a principal element of any Western exit strategy from Afghanistan will be to create competent national security forces. Such forces are regarded as necessary to contain, and eventually defeat, the Taliban insurgency that expanded in 2006, and to provide stability in regions where the government’s influence remains weak...
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Old 05-09-2008   #7
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Default Afghan National Army (ANA) thread

Stumbled upon this earlier today. On the mark, though much has improved since my 2003-2004 ANA experience. Interesting to note that the ANA STILL cannot unilaterally funciton in terms of CAS and log support, though I understand that some progress has been made toward an independant Afghan rotory wing aviation contingent.
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Old 05-09-2008   #8
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Question The one part I don't know that I agree with is

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Originally Posted by Vic Bout View Post
Stumbled upon this earlier today. On the mark, though much has improved since my 2003-2004 ANA experience. Interesting to note that the ANA STILL cannot unilaterally funciton in terms of CAS and log support, though I understand that some progress has been made toward an independant Afghan rotory wing aviation contingent.
where the author suggests that the ANA need to be tested soon. Although they are being tested on a daily basis to place them in a situation right now which demanded they stand alone against AQ and the other groups would probably be a bad idea and might just be what they would hope for.

Unlike Iraq the Afghans have not had 30+ years of established military experience as a group in whatever form that may have been. They are literally building ground up a military designed to do much more than any of their parts have done in recent memory.

The Taliban however have been a governing military recently and despite the fact that they were such a bad one doesn't change the comparison. I'm afraid if we try to push too hard with the ANA we run the risk of a much longer possibly insurmountable setback for them which would cost more than any small scale successful efforts might be worth right now.

Now recognizing that there are probably factors or facts that I'm unaware of are there any thoughts on whether this might be the case or not.
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Old 05-10-2008   #9
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Default One of many factors

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Originally Posted by Ron Humphrey View Post
Now recognizing that there are probably factors or facts that I'm unaware of are there any thoughts on whether this might be the case or not.
Ron,
I think its time to let the ANA work more independently. "We" are doing things that unintentionally stifle the growth of the ANA. For example, it is common knowledge that the ANA are challenged logistically. However the process of "Afghanization" is fuzzy when it comes to fixing logistics. It has led two key players in Afghan assistance (CSTC-A and ISAF) into a true dichotomy. CSTC-A is focused on raising an independent self sustaining ANA/ANSF. ISAF in its process of Afghanization rightfully does missions jointly with the ANA. However this creates a problem, ISAF cant always wait for the ANA to get fuel, ammo, etc... because of issues with the ANA supply system. So ISAF "gifts" mission essential items to the ANA. Now CSTC-A is trying to coach, teach, mentor the ANA to make their supply system work. However, thier supply system never has to work, because ISAF is willing to gift supplies to get the job done. I ask you, if you were the Afghan commander on the ground how would you think resupply worked? You order it through your supply chain, or when I really need something the foreigners give it to you?

The ANA will never grow until we back out and let them learn it the hard way. You cant give an Army the hard lessons of poor logistics, it has to be discovered. I treasure the tactical experience of my Afghan counterparts, on the ground they can slug it out with the best of them. However when it comes to logistics for the ANA tough love is good love, and IMO the ANA are not getting enough of it.

In Service,
arh

Last edited by Anthony Hoh; 05-10-2008 at 11:27 AM. Reason: Afraid Tom Odom would have ripped the poor grammer on my first offering apart.
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Old 05-10-2008   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Hoh View Post
Ron,
I think its time to let the ANA work more independently. "We" are doing things that unintentionally stifle the growth of the ANA. For example, it is common knowledge that the ANA are challenged logistically. However the process of "Afghanization" is fuzzy when it comes to fixing logistics. It has led two key players in Afghan assistance (CSTC-A and ISAF) into a true dichotomy. CSTC-A is focused on raising an independent self sustaining ANA/ANSF. ISAF in its process of Afghanization rightfully does missions jointly with the ANA. However this creates a problem, ISAF cant always wait for the ANA to get fuel, ammo, etc... because of issues with the ANA supply system. So ISAF "gifts" mission essential items to the ANA. Now CSTC-A is trying to coach, teach, mentor the ANA to make their supply system work. However, thier supply system never has to work, because ISAF is willing to gift supplies to get the job done. I ask you, if you were the Afghan commander on the ground how would you think resupply worked? You order it through your supply chain, or when I really need something the foreigners give it to you?

The ANA will never grow until we back out and let them learn it the hard way. You cant give an Army the hard lessons of poor logistics, it has to be discovered. I treasure the tactical experience of my Afghan counterparts, on the ground they can slug it out with the best of them. However when it comes to logistics for the ANA tough love is good love, and IMO the ANA are not getting enough of it.

In Service,
arh

Tony,

Great post. Continual problem with any kind of assistance. Have to let the recipent skin their knees as they learn to walk and then hopefully run

Best

Tom
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Old 05-10-2008   #11
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Thumbs up Thanks for the reply

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Hoh View Post
Ron,
I think its time to let the ANA work more independently. "We" are doing things that unintentionally stifle the growth of the ANA. For example, it is common knowledge that the ANA are challenged logistically. However the process of "Afghanization" is fuzzy when it comes to fixing logistics. It has led two key players in Afghan assistance (CSTC-A and ISAF) into a true dichotomy. CSTC-A is focused on raising an independent self sustaining ANA/ANSF. ISAF in its process of Afghanization rightfully does missions jointly with the ANA. However this creates a problem, ISAF cant always wait for the ANA to get fuel, ammo, etc... because of issues with the ANA supply system. So ISAF "gifts" mission essential items to the ANA. Now CSTC-A is trying to coach, teach, mentor the ANA to make their supply system work. However, thier supply system never has to work, because ISAF is willing to gift supplies to get the job done. I ask you, if you were the Afghan commander on the ground how would you think resupply worked? You order it through your supply chain, or when I really need something the foreigners give it to you?

The ANA will never grow until we back out and let them learn it the hard way. You cant give an Army the hard lessons of poor logistics, it has to be discovered. I treasure the tactical experience of my Afghan counterparts, on the ground they can slug it out with the best of them. However when it comes to logistics for the ANA tough love is good love, and IMO the ANA are not getting enough of it.

In Service,
arh
I understand what your saying and agree in large part , I guess my greatest concern is how we determine what the best way is to let them skin their knees without getting them cutoff, or amputated because they didn't know how to clean the wound correctly. I hope you get where I'm coming from. (it may be a bad analogy)

Thanks for everything you do and keep up the good work.
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Old 05-11-2008   #12
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Default ANA..Then, Today and Tomorrow...

Date: March through August 2003
Place: Gardez, Paktia Province, Afghanistan (with travel throughout Khwost & Ghazni Provinces)

At that time, the ANA was just in the process of standing up. There was a compound for training between the OGA and US Army PRT compound..some of you know the area.

The problems at that time was "tribal"...which seems to be a non-unifing entity both in Afghanistan, Iraq and having just returned from Southern Sudan with the Sudan People's Liberation Army/SPLA..a common thread of systemic challenges, that being "tribalism".

That said, and back to the issue of the ANA..If the soldiers who represent the ANA identify with a united Afghanistan and its government, be it evolving everyday..then perhaps the ANA can be a unifing force against radical Sunni Islam represented by the Taliban.

On the other hand, if the ANA represents factions of tribal members who identify with their tribe..by language, custom and religion, then the idea of a united ANA with a common enemy will be a "bridge too far.."

The current focus on small company size commando type units who can move, shoot and communicate without too much coalition assistance...who know the terrain..who know the enemy will provide perhaps a better opportunity to defeat the enemy based on the phrase.."no thy enemy better than I know myself.."

Salaam/RH
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Old 06-18-2008   #13
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Default The Problems with Afghan Army Doctrine

The Problems with Afghan Army Doctrine

By Sergeant First Class Anthony Hoh, US Army; Small Wars Journal Blog

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A critically important security transition task that is often a secondary effort is the development of host nation military doctrine. This effort is paramount to the creation of a successful and independent force. When the world’s focus has moved on to other issues, and the coalition advisory effort draws to an end, the Afghan National Army (ANA) security foundation will rely heavily on their doctrine to continue the fight and provide national security and stability. So a few critical questions one must ask is; are we on track with the current doctrine development program? Do we have the right formula for developing doctrine on behalf of the ANA? Is developing doctrine for the ANA the right approach?

Joint Pub 1-02 defines doctrine as the “Fundamental principles by which the military forces or elements thereof guide their actions in support of national objectives. It is authoritative but requires judgment in application.” It is important to note that this definition of doctrine does not describe doctrine as how the Army wishes to fight, or how it may be able to fight at some point in the distant future. Obviously, doctrine profoundly affects a nation’s military development, but it should not be used too heavily as the catalyst for change in terms of simultaneously trying to quickly modernize an immature force. In the writing of Afghan doctrine we fail to account for Afghanistan’s history, technology, social constructs, and the nature of the threats that its armed forces face. We should no longer attempt to gift the ANA tactical, strategic or operational doctrine. Current ANA doctrine that has been “Afganisized", consists of manuals that have been cut copied and replaced… M4 for M16 or AK, Javelin for RPG. The utility of such an approach remains questionable, when manuals like the 7-8 MTP instruct Patrol Leader’s to submit overlays with route classification formulas. (ANA 7-8MTP TSK# 07-3-2000), suggests the use of soft rounds when clearing staircases (ANA 7-8MTP TSK# 07-3-1000), or describes the use of integrated BOS (Battlefield Operating System) in the ANA 7-20 MTP. In fairness, none of these items are tactically obtuse, far from it. However when taken on the whole they are not part of the “fundamental principles by which these military forces guide their actions”. This doctrine is generally light years ahead of anything that Afghan Army is capable of now or can be in the foreseeable future. To be clear this is not a slight towards the ANA, they can function without map overlays at the platoon level and continual BDE MDMP (Brigade Military Decision Making Process) seminars, they could get by with a few TACSOPs and GARSOP’s (Tactical and Garrison Standing Operating Procedures) that are linked with each other...
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Old 06-30-2008   #14
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27 Jun 08: United States Plan for Sustaining the Afghanistan National Security Forces
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....Despite achievements in Afghanistan, security threats and corruption remain major impediments to overall development. The security environment continues to be fluid, demanding continual reexamination and assessment of requirements. The 2001 Bonn Agreement established the goal of a 50,000-person ANA and a 62,000-person ANP. The Bonn II Agreement in December of 2002 expanded the ANA target end-strength to 70,000 personnel. Since the Bonn Agreements and the international declaration of the Afghanistan Compact in 2006, security conditions have evolved, with a resurgence of activity by insurgents and anti-government elements. Consequently, in May 2007, the international community’s Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) approved an increase to 82,000 authorized ANP. Similarly, with the endorsement of the JCMB on February 5, 2008, the authorized ANA force structure increased to 80,000 personnel, with an additional 6,000 allotted for the trainee, transient, hospital, and student account.

The long-term ANSF posture potentially may include a more robust Afghan National Army Air Corps (ANAAC) capability and a larger army. Additional analysis, study, and consideration must be given to the security environment, sustainability of the force, and available financial support for such efforts.....
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Old 12-13-2008   #15
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CSIS, 7 Jan 09: Winning in Afghanistan: Creating Effective Afghan Security Forces
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....any effective counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan must build up strong Afghan security forces, and the use them to both defeat the enemy and create the level of security that is a critical prerequisite for governance and development. So far, however, this effort lags badly behind the need.

It has been badly mismanaged and underfunded in the past, and many of the lessons of Iraq and other recent wars were ignored. Seven years after the invasion of Afghanistan, neither the Afghan National Army (ANA) or Police (ANP) force is capable of standing on its own. Afghan military forces are still reliant upon NATO forces for leadership, logistics, and air support in combat. The development of the ANA and ANP continues to be severely under-resourced both in terms of advisors and funds.

While the ANA is more capable than the ANP, both must improve dramatically before they can take the lead in Afghan security and it is far from clear that such progress can be made in time to avoid a major further deterioration in the security situation.....

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Old 12-19-2008   #16
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Default a view from an ETT...

An interesting post recently over at Afghanistan Shrugged, on both the perils of centralized/remote battlespace control and (US) command attitudes to the ANA, from an ETT Team Chief.

Quote:
This is a habitual problem here. US commanders conducting massively centralized operations, not giving the guys on the ground the freedom of maneuver. To prevent a house from maybe being hit by an 8 pound canister we let four guys who have been shooting rockets at us get away, to fight another day . This makes no sense.

In addition these US commanders treat the ANA like disposable heroes and idiots. Can you even imagine some foreign commander telling your local poilce and army what they can and can not do. Battlespace owner does not make them the Lord Govenor of Afghanistan.
More at the link above.
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Old 12-19-2008   #17
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Default I would really, really like to say that was an exception

to the norm and we do not normally micromanage like that.

I really would like to say that.

Unfortunately, right now I'm too disgusted at the fact we never learn and we kill people unnecessarily through arrant stupidity like that to say much of anything.

We used to be able to just turn off the radio and ignore them and I've done that numerous times. Now, with the eye in the sky, the troops are screwed and the rear area staffs win...

Sad. Really, really sad.
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Old 12-19-2008   #18
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Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
to the norm and we do not normally micromanage like that.

I really would like to say that.

Unfortunately, right now I'm too disgusted at the fact we never learn and we kill people unnecessarily through arrant stupidity like that to say much of anything.

We used to be able to just turn off the radio and ignore them and I've done that numerous times. Now, with the eye in the sky, the troops are screwed and the rear area staffs win...

Sad. Really, really sad.
While I have not been high enough in the command structure to speak from personal experience, my scanning of military writing supports what you say Ken, and possibly more relevant in this case, it is also one of the BIG mistakes the Soviets made in there misadventures in Afghanistan. Makes me think that you are correct in your assertion that it all comes down to training and HR policies for promotion and retention. Perhaps someday...
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Old 12-19-2008   #19
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Default To make matters even worse...

We're not talking about a U.S. unit 100 miles away micromanaging a subordinate unit, they were in effect jerking the ANA bn. The sooner that the ANA can get its own enablers, the better. Then get them used to using their own stuff rather than being dependent on our temporary, high-tech stuff.

Illum, for God's sake!
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Old 12-19-2008   #20
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You know - given some of the distances - even parachute flares, 203 illum and hand held 57 or 60mm illum would have been helpful. If we are not going to provide enablers to our partners, then we have some choices to make:

1) do it all ourselves, and delay their development while generating further risk
2) let our partners twist, lose faith and trust in us and generate further risk
3) accept some risk and provide some enablers for the our partner
4) do as OE said and provide them with some enablers - either by introducing it into their system, providng them the materiel and training, or a combination of both.

1 & 2 are non-starters. While the clear CMD guidance needs to come from on high, the 06 and 05 are key implementers to seeing it through. A combination of 3 & 4, with the goal of seeing it institutionalized in their systems seems to be the way to go.

A good blog, I hope Vampire 06 keeps it up.

Best, Rob
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