Fledgling Afghan Army Is Threatened by Afghanistan Traditions. (News Alert!)

By Andersen, Martin Edwin | Insight on the News, September 9, 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Fledgling Afghan Army Is Threatened by Afghanistan Traditions. (News Alert!)


Andersen, Martin Edwin, Insight on the News


The backbone of Afghanistan's security apparatus, U.S. Ambassador John D. Negroponte told the U.N. Security Council on July 19, "must ultimately be the Afghan national army. The development of a comprehensive plan for the demobilization of regional militias and the absorption of some of those soldiers into a national army is a critical step."

It also appears to be a very difficult one. Well-placed sources tell news alert! that U.S. efforts to help create a multiethnic, apolitical and battle-ready Afghan National Army (ANA) are stalled and in serious disarray. These sources add that for weeks the ANA has been the topic of frantic, high-level, interagency meetings in Washington, with the long-term goal of creating a 60,000-strong force in increasing jeopardy.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, a Department of Defense insider reports, is "furious" at the delays and demanding quick and thoughtful action to shore up the assistance effort. The training program is seen as key to an orderly withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan and a guarantee against a return to power of Taliban-supported groups hiding in Pakistan.

Recent news reports from Kabul have focused on continuing tension between Afghan President Hamid Karzai, an ethnic Pashtun, and Minister of Defense Mohammed Fahim, who as head of the Tajik-dominated Northern Alliance also controls the country's Soviet-inspired intelligence network. Knowledgeable observers say that the Karzai-Fahim rivalry threatens to wreck efforts to form a viable central government. The ANA training program--which is to create up to 18 battalions of infantry soldiers--is seen as an essential cornerstone for the success of that government.

"Security is everything," says a military officer intimately involved in the planning operation headed by the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). "The longer we're there, the more likely our presence will become politicized, and the sooner American soldiers will become targets once again."

According to reports, Afghan recruiters for the ANA oversold the benefits of signing up. Many recruits became disillusioned with the low pay--$30 a month during training, $50 a month once in service. Others joined believing that they were becoming part of regional militia forces--whose continuing existence is a major headache for the Karzai government--but refused to serve after learning they could be posted far from their homes. "I have heard there have been some misunderstandings with individuals being recruited," says Navy Cmdr.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Fledgling Afghan Army Is Threatened by Afghanistan Traditions. (News Alert!)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?