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In the case of Iraq, the challenge is to build on military success that has not been matched by success at the civilian level, and to help Iraq make a successful transition to lasting security, political accommodation, and economic development. It has to create new capabilities to manage their implementation, and find the resources to make them work. More generally the US must address basic challenges in reshaping its national security structure and armed forces to determine the degree to which it can fight complex insurgencies, aid failed or broken states threatened by Jihadist and terrorist movements, and restructure its systems of alliances.

The US must reshape its national security posture at both the civil and military levels to take account of the hard lessons of the last eight years. This means that the US must reshape its national security efforts to reflect the fact it its civilian capabilities lag far behind its military capabilities in dealing with insurgency and armed nation building; and it means that the US must reshape its military forces at every level to do a better job of fighting such wars in ways it can actually fund and sustain.

The most important step we can take is to realize just how much we have been our own worst enemy, and how serious our mistakes have been. We must not underestimate very real threats, but at the same time we must not export our errors by blaming our allies and host countries, or crediting our enemies with a level of capability they do not possess. We have made many of the same critical mistakes in both the Afghan and Iraq Wars. They are mistakes whose effect we need to correct as soon as possible, and which we must not repeat in the future:. The irony is that simply recognizing these problems also virtually describes the solution.

The US does face a serious Jihadist insurgent threat that is well-led, adaptive, and able to focus on the gaps and weaknesses in host country, US, and allied capabilities. This threat is so extreme yet at the same time it is limited in the strength of its core cadres and military capability that even limited US success in Iraq has shown it can be defeated.

Proper strategy and resourcing of the war in Afghanistan might well produce the same results. The challenge the US faces in both its current wars, and in reshaping its national security structure, is as much to stop making these mistakes as it is to defeat the enemy. Above all, we must chose our wars more carefully, and plan for the risks they create. We must develop the full range of capabilities for armed nation building when it is a necessary option.

We must build an effective and integrated civil-military force that can actually carry out armed nation building, and effectively execute the necessary programs. The Cosmos Club does not have facilities for PowerPoint, and it is all too easy to become impatient with maps and graphs. Much of what I have just said, however, is all too quantifiable and is contained in data you can access from the CSIS web site.

A review of the data on the Afghan War is particularly revealing.

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It shows that the US went to war making many of the same basic grand strategic mistakes that it later made in Iraq. It shows how badly resourced the US effort in Afghanistan was, and how slowly the US reacted to the growth of the insurgent threat. It is clear — particularly in light of the data comparing US spending and troop levels in both countries — that the US ceded the initiative to the enemy over an eight year period.

During all this time, the US reacted far too slowly to Taliban and insurgent gains and failed to provide either the level of US troops needed to win or the effort necessary to develop effective Afghan forces. Policing positions are filled through a high-appointments board chaired by the Deputy Minister of Interior for Security.

As of June , the first two phases had been completed, with the third recruitment phase starting. The recruitment process for lower level staff is ongoing. For accountability, better implementation, and more efficient follow-up, the previous vague and weakly-implemented policies, standard operating procedures, and guidelines of the Ministry, amounting to in , has been merged and reduced to 40 today. A security sector anti-corruption strategy was approved on February 22, The anti-corruption action plan for implementing the strategy is also final and available publicly at this link.

The ACJC focuses on high-level corruption and has successfully prosecuted several cases leading to the conviction of approximately individuals for corruption. The court process is open, public and transparent and presents the government with a credible justice system for high level offenders. On November 6, , a committee was established to address corruption and deal with the issue of ghost soldiers.

There are currently four existing biometric payment systems operating in the security sector to ensure that all active military personnel are accounted for and paid electronically. Efforts to integrate all of these systems is currently on-going. Using the personnel information from the system, the MoD conducted technical investigations of approximately 50, Afghan National Army officials, and as a result nearly individuals were identified as perpetrating ghost soldier corruption schemes, and referred to the justice sector for prosecution. Mohammad Moeen Faqir, the former commander of embattled Helmand province, and Abdul Ghafar Dawi, the director of a large fuel company, chafed in silence as prosecutors in an anti-corruption court charged them with embezzlement and abuse of authority.

View Is Bleaker Than Official Portrayal of War in Afghanistan

As articulated in this plan, anti-corruption efforts are being implemented across all the levels of MoIA and ANP, including zone, province and district levels. These measures include revision of internal procedures, the establishment of internal control programs, as well as reporting and oversight mechanisms.

Disciplinary measures have been increasingly used as well as prosecutions and trials when criminal conduct was involved. These measures are expected to increase the low public trust in the Afghan National Police.

The MoIA established 20 mobile teams to conduct a nation-wide physical inventory of all personnel, and take biometrics for all soldiers and police officers at the central and provincial level. This is an on-going process and MoIA is committed to complete the personnel inventory process as planned. From the beginning of the personnel inventory process, ghost police have been identified in Farah, Badghis, Uruzgan and Helmand provinces.

As of September , Read more here on the SPM program. This process was completed and acknowledged in an official ceremony on Qaws 8, November 29, ; 19, ABP personnel transferred to MoD and 4, ABP personnel remained in MoIA and will be stationed at customs ports and airports. However, because the ANP had been trained as a counterinsurgency force, the ANP lacked the ability to protect the general populace as a civilian policing institution, and to address crime prevention.


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It is now mandatory for all Afghan police to complete the required training programs before starting their assignments. The Inherent Law came into being to shape the force to match the Tashkil authorizations via the mandatory retirements of certain general officers and colonels, mainly by lowering the retirement age of military officers from 65 to 55 years.


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  • This allows for a younger, more qualified generation of 5, officers to progress through the Officer Corps. The Inherent Law is being implemented in three phases. Phase I started in January when officers were subjected to immediate mandatory retirement. Phase II began in July , where additional officers were subjected to retirement.

    Phase III will commence in January , as officers will be subject to retirement. To fill the personnel gaps caused by Inherent Law, the MoD has replaced the senior leadership through merit-based appointments, who are vetted for corruption, including in the corps leadership across the country. The Afghan Police Law, which contains such rules as who the police is, police ranks, grades and classification, duties and responsibility of police, the way police must perform his duties and responsibility, has been reviewed and revised.

    So far, out of the five-tranche transition, two tranches have been completed, and a third began in May It includes districts as well as all remaining provincial capitals. How the ANSF handles especially the third tranche will be an important test of its capacities because the previous two tranches consisted mainly of stable or secured areas. There have been some tough places among them, such as the capital of Lashkar Gah, Marja, Nawa, and Nad-e-Ali districts of the Helmand province, which although cleared by ISAF before and registering major security improvements nonetheless are the heartland of the Taliban insurgency and historically difficult security environments.

    But it was only in the third tranche that the ANSF was to take over areas still violently contested and with poor governance. How ANSF performs during the third tranche will be the most telling indicator so far of its likely performance after And even the significant security improvements in the south are fragile. If the ANSF can respond robustly to an intense Taliban military campaign there, that will be an important sign that it can hold its own after At the same time, an absence of Taliban attacks in the south would not necessarily mean that the Taliban has been greatly weakened.

    It may be just waiting it out until after before expanding significant efforts and resources to resurrect control and intimidate government structures and the population into submission.

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    One of the major deficiencies of the military part of the transition strategy is its one-way direction. But ultimately, the transfer decisions lie with President Hamid Karzai and his principal advisor for transition, Ashraf Ghani. More worrisome, there is very little scope in the handover strategy for NATO forces to go robustly back into an area that was handed over to the Afghans, if the original assessment of handover readiness proves incorrect and if ANSF performs poorly. However, squeezed by the timelines set by the international community, such as the U.

    An Uncertain Future for Afghanistan’s Security Sector

    Neither the foreign capitals nor the Afghan government have appetites for anything but scaling back the international military presence. Thus the May NATO Chicago Summit added a new milestone — namely, that all parts of Afghanistan would begin the transition process and that the Afghans would be in the lead everywhere by mid Nor is the level and type of U. Decisions still have to be made as to the number of U. At the signing of the U. That phrasing seems to suggest that the United States will not maintain the 68, troops in Afghanistan in that the U.

    Yet too fast a reduction in U. The President also stated that the U. Ideally, ISAF will embed advisors within Afghan units, which is necessary both for mentoring the units and for integrating U. But if the post mission of international including U. Nor will the Afghans be reassured overall or continue to welcome such a foreign presence if it does little to satisfy their need of much more broadly-defined security and improved state-building while exposing them to the risk of terrorist retaliation.

    Moreover, when ISAF forces are thinning out they will become more and more dependent on ANSF for ground-level intelligence, particularly for developing and maintaining a good understanding of the broader dynamics in Afghanistan, such as the nature and quality of governance in particular locales, and possibly even for narrow counterterrorism missions. Already, U. Such trends are likely to intensify from now on: some Afghan interlocutors, for example, could try to manipulate intelligence in order to eliminate rivals by labeling them the Haqqanis, and the delicate intricacies of the interaction between poor governance in a district and Taliban mobilization grow.

    Similarly, if the government of Afghanistan decides to relegate the international military forces to their bases and rarely calls upon them for assistance, such as for night raids, the less effective any continuing international military training can be.