Showing posts with label ANSF. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ANSF. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

DoDIG Report - Equipping and Training Afghan Security Forces

Essential Function 5 - Force Sustainment
The Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Defense has issued a new report dated April 17, 2015 entitled "Equipping and Training Afghan Security Forces". The report states that challenges exist for asset accountability and maintenance and sustainment of vehicles within the Afghan National Security Forces. The reports objective was to determine whether the Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan (CSTC-A) and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan's Ministries of Defense and Interior have controls in place to effectively manage asset accountability for vehicles. This 50-page report, DoDIG-2015-107, presents it findings and offers recommendations. This is probably good background reading for those Resolute Support advisors working in Essential Function 5 - Force Sustainment.

Report is available on the DoDIG website at the link below:

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Operation Zulfiqar - Not so Much

Operation Zulfiqar is now complete. The Afghan government claims that the Taliban have suffered huge losses and much of Helmand province is more secure to include Sangin district. Resolute Headquarters will crank up their Information Operations (IO) machine and issue the usual cheerleader proclamations - posted to Twitter, Facebook, the RS website, and DVIDS. The Afghan military launched Operation Zulfiqar in February in an attempt to secure the northern part of Helmand province and demonstrate the government's resolve to fight in the Taliban heartland. The 'clearing operation' is over. However, as is true in most 'clearing operations' - the 'clearing troops' are now departing the area of operations and the Taliban are moving back into the security vacuum. This is how clearing operations went with U.S. troops for a number of years and the same happens with the Afghan National Army (the ANA have learned well from the U.S.). Large unit formations move into an area for a week to a couple of months, look for insurgents, weapons caches, IEDs, get shot at, suffer casualties, accomplish almost nothing, and then . . . they leave. So they accomplish the "Clear" part of "Clear, Hold, and Build" - but . . . then they leave. And the Taliban filter back in to control the village, the valley, or the district. The corrupt Afghan police who are left guarding the district center(s) are ill-led and ill-equipped to fight the Taliban. So the police 'secure the district center'; which is usually a walled compound where the district governor may show up to work (usually not) and the district chief of police (DCoP) comes to a quiet understanding with the real power in the district - the insurgents. Read more in "Afghan Effort to Secure South Falters", The Wall Street Journal,  April 10, 2015.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

ISAF Data on ANSF Now Declassified

ISAF HQs (now Resolute Support) had unexpectedly classified data about the Afghan National Security  Forces (ANSF) that for over a decade had been unclassified. After criticism from Congress and the media the Resolute Support HQs declassified the data so it is now once again available to Congress and the public. Read the newly declassified material in a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), published in late February 2014. One key graphic in the now unclassified report depicts a decline in end strength for the ANA force levels. In February 2014 the total for ANA personnel was almost 185,000. The figures for November 2014 show a figure of 169,000 - a significant drop in personnel.

ANSF Suffer Heavy Losses in 2014

The Afghan Army lost more than 20,000 fighters last year largely because of desertions, discharges and deaths in combat. It also saw a significant decline in personnel end strength - casting doubts on its ability to provide security for the nation. Staffing levels have fallen to the lowest levels since 2011. Read more in "Figures From U.S.-Led Coalition Show Heavy Losses for Afghan Army", The New York Times, March 3, 2015. See also "The Afghan military is shrinking as the Pentagon withdraws its troops", The Washington Post, March 3, 2015.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

RS HQs Provides Perspective on ANSF

Resolute Support Headquarters has issued a news release on February 28, 2015 entitled Afghan National Defense and Security Forces Operational Update. The news release provides ". . . some perspective on aggregate Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) capabilities and performance". It provides some facts and figures of troop and police strength, news on current ANSF operations, the increased levels of violence, high ANSF casualties, attrition problems, recruitment efforts, and steps taken to alleviate the current problems associated with casualties, attrition, and the current capability gaps of the ANSF.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Paper - The Future of the Afghan Security Forces

The Center for a New American Security, an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization, has released a recently published (January 8, 2015) paper entitled Defend, Defect, or Desert?: The Future of the Afghan Security Forces. The author, Mr. Tyler Jost, is a former U.S. Army Company Commander who served two tours in Afghanistan and is currently a PhD Candidate in International Relations at Harvard University. Jost lays out how the United States can most effectively support the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). He argues that in the coming months, Afghanistan will depend on increasingly independent Afghan security forces to fight a tough insurgency; an insurgency that is as strong today as it was four years ago during the height of the Coalition surge in Afghanistan. The paper starts off with a good historical review of the previous Afghan military organizations and then proceeds to examine the current state of the ANSF and what needs to be done for the future in order to sustain the ANSF. At the end of the paper Jost provides a conclusion and some recommendations.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Fight in Dangam District Ongoing

The weeks long fight in Dangam district, Kunar province is continuing. Dangam district is a forested valley located adjacent to the Pakistan border; easily crossed by the Taliban. A few weeks back in December 2014 some of the local villages staged an uprising against the Taliban. There have been a number of local uprisings against the Taliban across the country; but not coordinated, not enough, and most are - in the long-term - unsuccessful due to lack of Coalition and Afghan government support. In Dangam district the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) jumped into the fray. The Taliban are not yielding territory just yet but are taking some hits. Coalition aircraft have assisted in limited airstrikes to support the 201st ANA Corps. Read more in "Afghan mountain hamlet a proving ground for the army", The Washington Times, December 31, 2014.

Monday, December 8, 2014

AREU Paper - ANSF Sustainability Challenges

On November 18, 2014, Dr. Antonio Giustozzi, delivered a public lecture and then answered questions during the follow-on discussion about the long-term sustainability of the Afghan National Army. The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) has published the transcript and posted it on their website. The lecture addresses some of the specific challenges of the ANSF - the ability to logistically support units in the field with supplies, ammunition, fuel, etc.; personnel administration; functioning of the Afghan Security Ministries (ASIs); procurement procedures, and more. Some of the points made by Giustozzi include:
- the drawdown of western forces affected the morale of the ANSF;
- the ANSF realizes they don't have the financial resources needed;
- Kabul military leaders don't have good ground truth of tactical situation;
- the ANSF realized they underestimated the strength of the Taliban;
- the Taliban enhancement of village-level operations;
- concern of ANSF to hold on next two years;
- high level of desertions from ANSF;
- higher level of ANA corruption than previously thought;
- 63% of ANA fuel is stolen;
- 2/3s of ANA food is stolen;
- poor quality of boots for the ANA;
- lack of foreign advisors and mentors means higher levels of "ghost soldiers";
- lack of advisors at kandak / brigade may increase non-judicial killings;
- a worry that ANA cdrs will use fires instead of sound SUTs;
- a lack of middle-class Afghans participating in the ANSF;
- lack of educated Afghans in ministries working budgets, etc.;
- ISAFs maintenance failures on the 11 Mi-24 combat helicopters;
- inability to field the 20 A-29 Tucano close support aircraft on time;
- ISAF fumbling of the C-27 maintenance plan;
- inability of ANSF to conduct aerial MEDEVACs affects morale;
- ANA commanders forming "truce pacts" with Taliban;
- lack of ANA doctrine (current manuals are translated US manuals);
- concern that Afghanistan could follow Iraq's present situation;
- senior Afghan military leaders and commanders "not up to the task";
- dismal prospects of reconciliation with the Taliban;
- optimistic narrative "everything is fine" of ISAF is counterproductive
The paper (transcript) was published December 7, 2014 and is available at the following link (Adobe Acrobat PDF, 22 pages, 1.3 MBs):
"The Afghan National Army: Sustainability Challenges beyond Financial Aspects".

Friday, December 5, 2014

Big Hurdle: Lack of Cooperation Among ANSF

A German newspaper Deutsche Welle has posted (Dec 3, 2014) an interview with Jason H. Campbell about his recent fact-finding trip to Afghanistan. ". . . Campbell is an associate policy analyst at the RAND Corporation where he focuses on issues of international security, counterinsurgency, intelligence, and measuring progress in post-conflict reconstruction." In the interview Campbell talks about the main challenges facing the ANSF, the diminished support the ANSF will receive from NATO under the Resolute Support Mission, and how there is a lack of coordination between the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, and the National Directorate of Security. He also discusses the degree of control that the Taliban has in the countryside and the future prospects of peace talks. Campbell's analysis of the current situation in Afghanistan seems to be spot on. Read the news article "Lack of coordination among local forces remains 'biggest hurdle' to Afghan security".

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Assessment of ANSF

Jason Campbell, a researcher for the RAND Corporation, recently finished a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan. He has wrote several pieces on his trip. His most recent is an assessment of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) - "What's The Plan? The Afghan National Security Forces", War on the Rocks, December 2, 2014. Read more assessments on the ANSF.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

ANSF Casualties Not Sustainable

A top United States military commander in Afghanistan says that the casualties suffered by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are not sustainable. LTG Joseph Anderson, the commander of the ISAF Joint Command (IJC), says that since the beginning of 2013, the ANSF have suffered nearly 9,000 fatalities. In comparison, the U.S. has lost 2,246 troops in OEF since 2001. The number of troops from the ANSF going AWOL is also high. Currently the Afghan National Police (ANP) is at 89 percent strength while the Afghan National Army (ANA) is at 81 per cent strength. LTG Anderson reports that the ANSF are winning since they are able to hold their ground against the enemy. Hmmm. Most counterinsurgency experts say that if the government forces are not defeating insurgents in their base areas (support and attack zones), the insurgents are continuing to operate, have freedom to move in the rural areas, and can pick the time and place to attack the government forces then the insurgents are considered to be winning. I guess it depends on which Field Manual you read. Read more on ANSF casualties in "US commander: Afghan casualties not sustainable", Stars and Stripes, November 5, 2014.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Afghan Forces Winning Says IJC Cdr

The commander of the ISAF Joint Command, sometimes called IJC for short, provided an update on the Afghan War in a teleconference with Pentagon reporters. Army LTG Joseph Anderson said that the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are winning. He stated that the ANSF is ". . . the most trusted government organization in Afghanistan" and that it is ". . . a hugely capable fighting force that has been holding its ground against the enemy". The Afghan forces number about 352,000 - 156,000 in the army and 155,000 in the police.

In the transition from the ISAF mission to the Resolute Support mission there has been a steady decline in the number of Coalition forces in Afghanistan. Currently (early November 2014) there are 38,000 soldiers from 44 nations; with a planned strength of 12,500 Coalition members by the end of December 2014. The number of Coalition bases has decreased from 86 bases in January 2014 to a current number of 26 (as of early November 2014). There are no more Regional Commands. All of the RCs have transitioned to "Train Advise and Assist Commands" or TAACs. The last RC to transition was RC East (to TAAC East). The new mission, Resolute Support, is all about advising and assisting the Afghans at the corps, institutional, and ministerial levels to work systems and processes. The advisory effort is focused along Eight Essential Functions (the "8 EF's are the follow-on to the "Five Functional Pillars") which encompasses everything from planning, programming, budgeting and execution to sustainment and planning. Some of the capability gaps of the ANSF include aviation, intelligence, logistics, and medical.

Read more in "Afghan Forces Winning, ISAF Joint Command Chief Says", DoD News, November 5, 2014.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Our Afghans Have Gone AWOL Again

Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army officers rarely get the chance to travel. Very few are offered the opportunity to travel to Europe or the United States as part of a training program of educational course of instruction. Not all of them return to Afghanistan as they tend to go "missing". For instance, an ANA colonel with the Ministry of Defense delegation to the NATO conference recently held in Wales went missing - and very quickly asked for asylum. Afghan groups going to the Joint Forces Training Center (JFTC) in Poland or the Joint Multi-national Readiness Center (JMRC) in Germany usually return with a few empty seats on the plane. The same is the true of Afghans visiting the United States. Recently two went missing while attending a DEA training event and three went missing while participating in training on Camp Edwards, Cape Cod. Read more in "Pesky Questions About Those AWOL Afghans", by Michelle Malkin in Townhall, October 1, 2014.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Afghan Forces Becoming More Effective

As the United States and its allies in Afghanistan continue to withdraw the Afghan National Security Forces or ANSF is finding itself having to do almost all of the fighting and also picking up responsibility for sustaining itself (logistics, training, MEDEVACs, supplies, contracting, etc.). Read more on this topic in "Afghan forces have proved surprisingly effective", USA Today, February 15, 2014.

Monday, February 10, 2014

ANSF Can "Clear" but Not "Hold"

In what is painfully obvious to most observers of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) is that fact that the ANSF can conduct clearing operations but they can't conduct hold operations very well. Of course, that is one of the principal reasons that the "Build" phrase of the counterinsurgency effort suffered such mixed results. So the ability of the ANSF to "clear, hold, and build" is lacking. In countering an insurgency being able to "clear, hold, and build" is crucial. Almost all ISAF members from brigade level on down recognize this fact. However, ISAF continues its information operations campaign that the ANSF can protect the population, has emerged from the 2013 fighting season on top of the Taliban, and is capable of conducting operations in the future that will keep the Taliban at bay. This does a disservice to those who want the real story (or perhaps the complete story). Fortunately there are leaders still left in the military that tell it like it is. Enter LTG Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), who will be testifying on Tuesday (Feb 10, 2014) at a Senate hearing. Those familiar with LTG Flynn know he doesn't pull any punches. Read more in "Afghan Forces Struggle to Hold Land, Defense Agency Says", Bloomberg News, February 10, 2014.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Expert Says Taliban Living in Fantasy World

Brigadier Ben Barry, a senior fellow on land warfare at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), states that the Taliban failed to achieve their objectives during the 2013 fighting season and that the Afghan security forces are thoroughly in control of counter-insurgency. Hmmmmm. He gets it half right. The Taliban didn't achieve their "stated objectives" during the 2013 fighting season but they didn't lose much territory and they bloodied the Afghan security forces at higher numbers than any previous year. An insurgency doesn't have to gain territory to continue to exist - it just has to continue to exist. The Taliban have their "stated objectives" for political consumption and internal motivation and they have their realistic objectives that are the focus of their long-term strategy. The ANSF is thoroughly in control of counter-insurgency? Not so much. While the Taliban didn't gain significant territory from government forces neither did the Afghan security forces take much territory from the Taliban; and the Afghan security forces have certainly not defeated the Taliban. And, oh, by the way, the Afghans can't even spell "counterinsurgency". Read more in "Taliban living in fantasy world: IISS defence expert:", Business Standard, February 6, 2014.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

NATO Leaders Say Afghan Forces Need More Training

At a NATO conference many of the leading officials of NATO have again pointed out the need for continued training of the Afghan forces. The officials state that although the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have come a long way and held their own during the 2013 fighting season there are some things that they still need assistance with. That assistance would be provided by 10,000 U.S. military and 6,000 NATO troops.Read more in "NATO leaders say Afghan troops need more training", Stars and Stripes, February 1, 2014.

Monday, January 27, 2014

ANSF Winning Most Firefights Against Taliban

LTG Mark Milley, the commander of ISAF Joint Command (IJC), says that the Taliban is losing most of the firefights with the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). "The Taliban rarely masses its forces in direct confrontation with Afghan forces . . . " (of course not, guerrillas don't do that). The general reports that the ANSF engaged in about 3,000 to 4,000 firefights over the past year but lost only 100-150 of those engagements. Read more in "Afghan forces winning most firefights against Taliban", USA Today, January 23, 2014.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) Improving According to General Allen

During a press conference on March 26, 2012 Gen. John Allen briefed reporters on the situation in Afghanistan. Read a news account of the briefing in "Afghan Security Forces Improving Quickly, Allen Says", American Forces Press Service, March 26, 2012.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Billions Cut from ANSF Budget - Afghanistan Takes a Money Hit with Defense Budget

The proposed defense budget will drastically reduce the amount of money spent on training and equipping the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) over the next few years.  Read more in "Scaling back on wars, spending elsewhere"Security Clearance Blog - CNN, February 13, 2012.