Afghan National Army
|Afghan National Army|
Soldiers of the Afghan National Army, including Commandos standing in the front.
|Active||1709 (current form: 2002)|
|Branch||Military of Afghanistan|
|Size||Expert assessments vary from 100,000-200,000|
|Colors||Black, Red and Green|
|Chief of Staff||Lt. Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi|
The Afghan National Army (ANA) is the main branch of the military of Afghanistan, which is responsible for land-based military operations and ground warfare to defend the state against foreign military incursions. It is under the Ministry of Defense in Kabul and is being trained by NATO alliance. The ANA is divided into six regional Corps, with the 201st in Kabul followed by the 203rd in Gardez, 205th in Kandahar, 207th in Herat, 209th in Mazar-i-Sharif and the 215th in Lashkar Gah. The current Chief of Staff of the Afghan National Army is Lt. Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi.
Afghanistan's army traces its roots to the early 18th-century when the Hotaki dynasty was established in Kandahar followed by Ahmad Shah Durrani's rise to power. It was reorganized in 1880 during Emir Abdur Rahman Khan's reign. Afghanistan remained neutral during World War I and World War II. From the 1960s to the early 1990s, the Afghan army was equipped by the Soviet Union. After the collapse of Najibullah's regime in 1992, the army fragmented into militias under various regional warlords. This was followed by the Taliban government in the mid-1990s, which was minimally supported by the Pakistan Armed Forces. After the end of the Taliban rule in late 2001, the Afghan National Army was built by ISAF under NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan.
To thwart and dissolve illegal armed groups, the Karzai administration began offering cash and vocational training to encourage members to join the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). NATO is expanding the Afghan armed forces to about 260,000 active personnel by 2015, a move supported and funded primarily by the United States Department of Defense. There were more than 4,000 American military trainers in late 2009 and additional numbers from other NATO member states, providing advanced warfare training to the Afghan armed forces and police. The majority of training of the ANA is to be undertaken in the newly established Afghan National Security University (AFNS). There are three distinct parts to the University: the National Military Academy (NMA), the Afghan National Army Officer Academy and the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Academy. As of 2013, over 80 percent of Afghanistan is under the ANA control.
The modern army has its roots to the Hotaki dynasty which was formed in April 1709, before the establishment of the Afghan Empire by Ahmad Shah Durrani. In 1880 Amir Abdur Rahman Khan established a newly equipped Afghan Army with help from the British. The Afghan Army was more modernized by King Amanullah Khan in the early 20th century just before the Third Anglo-Afghan War. King Amanullah and his Afghan Army fought against the British in 1919, resulting in Afghanistan becoming fully independent after the Treaty of Rawalpindi was signed. The Afghan Army was further upgraded during King Zahir Shah's reign, starting in 1933.
From the 1960s to the early 1990s, the Afghan Army received training and equipment mostly from the former Soviet Union. Before the 1978 Saur Revolution, according to military analyst George Jacobs, the armed forces included "some three armored divisions (570 medium tanks plus T 55s on order), eight infantry divisions (averaging 4,500 to 8,000 men each), two mountain infantry brigades, one artillery brigade, a guards regiment (for palace protection), three artillery regiments, two commando regiments, and a parachute battalion (largely grounded). All the formations were under the control of three corps level headquarters. All but three infantry divisions were facing Pakistan along a line from Bagram south to Khandahar." After the coup, desertions swept the force, affecting the loyalty and moral values of soldiers, there were purges on patriotic junior and senior officers, and upper class Afghan aristocrats in society.
Gradually the army's three armoured divisions (4th and 15th at Kabul/Bagram and 7th at Khandahar) and now sixteen infantry divisions dropped in size to between battalion and regiment sized, with no formation stronger than about 5,000 troops. During the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan, the national army of Afghanistan was involved in fighting against the mujahideen rebel groups. A big problem in the Afghan army became deserters or defectors. The Afghan army's casualties were as high as 50–60,000 and another 50,000 deserted the armed forces. The Afghan army's defection rate was about 10,000 per year between 1980 and 1989, the average deserters left the Afghan army after the first five months.
By 1992, after the withdrawal of the Soviet forces from Afghanistan and the fall of the communist regime in Kabul, the Soviet-trained army splintered between the government in Kabul and the various warring factions. By mid-1994 for example, there were two parallel 6th Corps operating in the north. Abdul Rashid Dostam's 6th Corps was based at Pul-i-Khumri and had three divisions. The Defence Ministry of the Kabul government's 6th Corps was based at Kunduz and also had three divisions, two sharing numbers with formations in Dostum's corps. During that time local militia forces were formed or the former Soviet era national army units 'regionalised;' both provided security for their own people living in the territories they controlled. The country was factionalized with different warlords controlling the territories they claimed, and there was no officially recognized national army in the country.
This era was followed by the Taliban regime in 1996, which removed the warlords and decided to control the country by Islamic Sharia law. The Taliban also began training its own army troops and commanders, some of whom were secretly trained by the intelligence agency (ISI) or Pakistani Armed Forces around the Durand Line. After the removal of the Taliban government in late 2001, private armies loyal to former warlords took over security around the country. Formations in existence by the end of 2002 included the 1st Army Corps (Nangarhar), 2nd Army Corps (Kandahar, dominated by Gul Agha Sherzai), 3rd Army Corps (Paktia, where the US allegedly attempted to impose Atiquallah Ludin as commander), 4th Army Corps (Herat, dominated by Ismail Khan), 6th Army Corps at Kunduz, 7th Army Corps (under Atta Muhammad Nur at Balkh), 8th Army Corps (at Jowzjan, dominated by Dostum's National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan) and the Central Army Corps around Kabul.
The new Afghan National Army was founded with the issue of a decree by President Hamid Karzai on December 1, 2002. Upon his election Karzai set a goal of an army of at least 70,000 men by 2009. However, many western military experts as well as the Afghan Defense Minister, Abdul Rahim Wardak, believed that the nation needed at least 200,000 active troops in order to defend it from enemy forces.
The first new Afghan battalion was trained by British army personnel of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), becoming 1st Battalion, Afghan National Guard. Yet while the British troops provided high quality training, they were few in number. After some consideration, it was decided that United States Army might be able to provide the training. Thus follow-on battalions were recruited and trained by 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group of Ft. Bragg, NC, under the command of LTC McDonnell. 3rd SFG built the training facilities and ranges for early use, using a Soviet built facility on the eastern side of Kabul, near the then ISAF headquarters. The first training commenced in May 2002, with a difficult but successful recruitment process of bringing hundreds of new recruits in from all parts of Afghanistan. Early training was done in Pashto and Dari (Persian dialect) and some Arabic due to the very diverse ethnicities. The first female Afghan parachutist Khatol Mohammadzai, trained during the 1980s, became the first female general in the Afghan National Army in August 2002.
By January 2003 just over 1,700 soldiers in five Kandaks (Pashto for battalions) had completed the 10-week training course, and by mid-2003 a total of 4,000 troops had been trained. Approximately 1,000 ANA soldiers were deployed in the US-led Operation Warrior Sweep, marking the first major combat operation for Afghan troops. Initial recruiting problems lay in the lack of cooperation from regional warlords and inconsistent international support. The problem of desertion dogged the force in its early days: in the summer of 2003, the desertion rate was estimated to be 10% and in mid-March 2004, estimate suggested that 3,000 soldiers had deserted. Some recruits were under 18 years of age and many could not read or write. Recruits who only spoke the Pashto language experienced difficulty because instruction was usually given through interpreters who spoke Dari.
In March 2004, fighting erupted in the western city of Herat between Ismail Khan's followers and members of the ANA's 4th Corps. Ismail Khan's son Mirwais Sadiq was killed during the standoff between the two sides. The death toll from the fighting was estimated at 50 to 100 people. In response to the fighting, about 1,500 newly trained ANA soldiers were sent to Herat in order to bring the situation under control.
|Number of soldiers on duty||Year(s)|
Soldiers in the new army initially received $30 a month during training and $50 a month upon graduation, though the basic pay for trained soldiers has since risen to $165. This starting salary increases to $230 a month in an area with moderate security issues and to $240 in those provinces where there is heavy fighting. About 95% of the men and women serving in the military are paid by electronic funds transfer. Special biometrics are used during the registration of each soldier.
Despite the strong Taliban insurgency and the many other problems that Afghanistan faces, the ANA has been steadily expanding over the years. All ANA military bases across Afghanistan are being built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). By early 2013, reports stated that there were 200,000 ANA troops. They are being trained by the International Security Assistance Force under NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan. Increasing number of female soldiers are also joining the ANA. Under the U.S.–Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement, the United States designated Afghanistan as a major non-NATO ally and agreed to fund the ANA until at least 2024. This includes soldiers' salaries, providing trainings and weapons, and all other military costs.
The basic unit in the Afghan National Army is the kandak (battalion), consisting of 600 troops. Kandaks may be further broken down into four toli (company-sized units). Although the vast majority of kandaks are infantry, at least one mechanized and one tank battalion have been formed; more may be planned. Every ANA Corps will be assigned an ANA Commando Brigade with the sixth designated as a special national unit under the Afghan Defense Ministry's purview.
As of September 2005[update], 28 of the 31 Afghan National Army battalions were ready for combat operations and many had already participated in them. At least nine brigades are planned at this time, each consisting of six battalions. By March 1, 2007, half of the planned army of 70,000 ANA soldiers had been achieved with 46 of the planned 76 Afghan battalions operating in the fore or in concert with NATO forces. The size and limits of the ANA were specified in the Bonn II Agreement, signed in 2002. This agreement called for the establishment of the ANA and formal development of Afghan forces under NATO doctrine.
Seven Quick Reaction Forces (QRF) battalions are in the process of being built, one QRF battalion for each of the ANA's 7 Corps and one Division. They are being created by converting existing infantry battalions into Quick Reaction Forces battalions at the National Military Academy of Afghanistan's Armor Branch School. The first Quick Reaction Forces battalion will be trained and fielded by the spring of 2012, and the last one around the spring 2013. This will be the first major deployment of armored vehicles into the ANA.
A total of 14 brigades that will primarily be regionally oriented are planned for 2008. According to Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan (CSTC-A) thirteen of these brigades are to be light infantry, one will be mechanized and one will be commando.
Currently the Afghan National Army maintains seven corps; each corps is responsible for one major area of the country. Each corps has three to four subordinate brigades, and each brigade has four infantry battalions as its basic fighting unit. Each infantry battalion is assigned a specific area for which it is responsible, the battalion's mission is to secure its area from internal and external threats. Originally, the four outlying corps were assigned one or two brigades, with the majority of the manpower of the army based in Kabul's 201st Corps. This was superseded by a buildup in which each corps added extra brigades. Establishment of the corps started when four regional corps commanders and some of their staff were appointed on 1 September 2004.
Five, plus a newly forming corps, serve as regional commands for the ANA:
- 201st Corps (Kabul) – 1st Brigade is at the Presidential Palace. 3rd Brigade, at Pol-e-Chakri, is to be a mechanised formation including M-113s and Soviet-built main battle tanks. Later information from LongWarJournal.org places most of the 3rd Brigade at Jalalabad, Second Brigade at Pol-e-Charkhi, and only a single battalion of First Brigade at the Presidential Palace. The corps is charged with operation in eastern Afghanistan, including Kabul, Logar, Kapisa, Konar, and Laghman. It's battlespace includes the Afghan capital of Kabul as well as vital routes running north and south, and valleys leading from the Pakistani border into Afghanistan. Currently the Third Brigade of the 201st Corps is the only unit that has control of an area of responsibility in Afghanistan without the aid or assistance of U.S. or coalition forces for its command system.
- 203rd Corps (Gardez) The original Gardez Regional Command was established on 23 September 2004. As of 2009, First Brigade, Khost, Second Brigade, Foreword Operating Base Rushmore, Sharana, Paktika Province, Third Brigade, Ghazni. On 19 Oct 2006, as part of Operation Mountain Fury, two embedded training team members mentored and advised a D30 artillery section from Fourth Battalion, Second Brigade, 203rd Corps, to conduct the first artillery missions during combat operations with harassment and indirect fires. Three days later, they successfully conducted counterfire (with assistance from a US Q-36 radar) that resulted with ten enemy casualties, the highest casualties inflicted from artillery fire in ANA history. The corps is supported by the Gardez Regional Support Squadron of the ANAAC, equipped with 8 helicopters: 4 transport to support the corps' commando battalion, two attack, and two medical transport.
- 205th Corps (Kandahar) – has the responsibility for the provinces of Kandahar, Zabul, and 4th Brigade Urozgan under Brigadier General Zafar Khan's control. It consists of four brigades, a commando battalion and three garrisons. The corps has integrated artillery and airlift capacity, supplied by a growing Kandahar Wing of the Afghan Air Force.
- 207th Corps (Herat) – 1st Brigade at Herat, 2nd Brigade at Farah, and elements at Shindand (including commandos). The corps is supported by the Herat Regional Support Squadron of the ANAAC, equipped with eight helicopters: four transport to support the corps' commando battalion, two attack, and two medical transport aircraft.
- 209th Corps (Mazar-i-Sharif) – Works closely with the German-led Regional Command North, and has 1st Brigade at Mazar-i-Sharif and, it appears, a Second Brigade forming at Kunduz. An Army Corps of Engineers solicitation for Kunduz headquarters facilities for the Second Brigade was issued in March 2008. The corps is supported by the Mazar-i-Sharif Regional Support Squadron of the ANAAC, equipped with eight helicopters: four transport to support the Corps' commando battalion, two attack, and two medical transport helicopters.
- 215th Corps (Lashkar Gah) – The Afghan government has approved a new seventh corps of the Afghan National Army – Corps 215 Maiwand – to be based in the Helmand capital of Lashkar Gah where the first fresh U.S. troops are expected to arrive. The 215th is a new unit, developed specifically to partner with the Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Helmand. On 28 January 2010, Xinhua reported that General Sayed Mallok would command the new corps. (Military Corps formed to strength security in Taliban hotbed) The corps will cover all parts of Helmand, half of Farah and most parts of southwestern Nimroz province. The corps was formally established on 1 April 2010. 1st Bde, 215th Corps, is at Garmsir, partnered with a USMC Regimental Combat Team. Elements of 2nd Brigade, 215th Corps, have been reported at Forward Operating Base Delaram, Farah Province. 3rd Bde, 215th Corps, partnered with the UK Task Force Helmand is at Camp Shorabak.
In late 2008 it was announced that the 201st Corps' former area of responsibility would be divided, with a Capital Division being formed in Kabul and the corps concentrating its effort further forward along the border. The new division, designated the 111th Capital Division, became operational on April 21, 2009. It has a First Brigade and Second Brigade (both forming) as well as a Headquarters Special Security Brigade.
ANA Commandos 
In July 2007 the Afghan army graduated its first commandos. The commandos underwent a grueling three-month course being trained by American special forces. They received training in advanced infantry skills as well as training in first aid and tactical driving. They are fully equipped with US equipment and have received US style training. By the end of 2008 the six ANA commando battalions will be stationed in the southern region of Afghanistan assisting the Canadian forces.
From mid-2011, the ANA began establishing a Special Operations Command (ANASOC) to control the ANA Commando Brigade and the ANA Special Forces. It is headquartered at Camp Moorehead in Wardak Province, located six miles south of Kabul. The training center is named after 5th Special Forces Group soldier MSG Kevin Morehead, who was killed in Iraq in September 2003.
In July 2012, the Special Operations Command was officially established as a division-sized special operations force formation, including a command and staff. The command, with the status of a division, now boasts between 10,000 and 11,000 soldiers. Previously this was organised as one Brigade with 8 battalions all with a minimum of 6 kandalks. Due to the standard size of a brigade in the ANA, the ANASOC is likely to be split into 3 - 4 brigades, one of which will be a Special Forces Brigade.
ANA Special Forces 
The ANA Special Forces was first conceptualized in 2009 and established in 2010. The first Special Forces team, whose soldiers were selected from the ANA Commando Brigade, finished training in May 2010. The organization is based on U.S. Army Special Forces. Initially all the Special Forces candidates were planned to come from the Commando Battalion, only requiring 10 weeks of training. However, after the initial period it was planned that Special Forces recruiting was to be conducted throughout the army, and initial Special Forces training will be 15 weeks. Commando graduates of the special forces course will retain their 'commando' tab and will also have a' special forces' tab on top of the commando tab and they also receive a tan beret. These candidates are normally selected after serving 4 years as a Commando. They were attached to teams of U.S. Special Forces operating in Kandahar province in the 2010 operation.
In May 2010 the first class of the ANA Special Forces graduated from their 10 week qualification course and moved on to the operational portion of their training. In November 2010, the ANA Special Forces Class 1 received their tan berets in a ceremony at Camp Morehead, Kabul Province, after completing 26 weeks of on-the-job training partnered with U.S. Special Forces. The initial selection involved taking the 145 commandos who volunteered, putting them through a one week qualification process (similar to the one used in the United States), and finding, as in the U.S., that only about half (69) passed. These men formed the first four A-Teams (of 15 men each). Some of them who passed the 1st are being used to help American Special Forces train the 2nd class of candidates. Special Forces soldiers are trained to focus on interaction with the population through jirgas with village elders, but capable of unilateral operations. A second ANA Special Forces class completed training on December 3, 2010. As of December 2011, the force currently numbered 1,000 to 1,500. This unit also has female soldiers to act as support to search females because of the local culture, there are plans to create one special forces platoon of just female soldiers so they can go talk to families (children and women).
Combat Support Organizations 
As the ANA has grown to almost its full size the focus has now changed to further development of the force so that it becomes self sustainable. Development of the ANA Combat Support Organizations, the Corps Logistics Kandaks (CLK) and the Combat Support Kandaks (CSK) is vital to self-sustainability.
Combat Support Kandaks (CSK) provide specialized services for infantry battalions. While most ANA Battalions have a CSK they are underdeveloped and do not fit the requirements of a growing army. The CSK role includes motor fleet maintenance, specialized communications, scouting, engineering, and long range artillery units. Eventually one fully developed CSK will be assigned to each of the 24 ANA Combat Brigades.
Each CSK includes an Intelligence Company called a Cashf Tolai. Each Intelligence Company is responsible for collecting information about the surrounding area and Taliban activities. The members of the unit interact closely with the local residents in an effort to deny the Taliban control over the surrounding area.
In order to enable the ANA to be self-sufficient, Brigades will form a Corps Logistics Kandaks (CLK) which will be responsible to providing equipment to the 90 Infantry Battalions. The CSSK will be responsible for the maintenance of the new heavier equipment including APCs. In the 215th Corps area, the U.S. Marine Combat Logistics Battalion 1 announced in January 2010 that the training of the ANA 5th Kandak, 1st Brigade, 215th ANA Corps Logistics Kandak has gone very well and that the unit was capable of undertaking the majority of day to day activities on their own.
NATO Training 
|This section's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (April 2013)|
Members of the coalition forces in Afghanistan have undertaken different responsibilities in the creation of the ANA. All these various efforts are managed on the Coalition side by Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan (CSTC-A), a three-star level multi-national command headquartered in downtown Kabul. On the ANA side, as of July 2006[update] all training and education in the Army is managed and implemented by the newly formed Afghan National Army Training Command (ANATC), a two-star command which reports directly to the Chief of the General Staff. All training centers and military schools are under ANATC HQ. The coalition forces are partnered with the ANA to mentor and support formal training through Task Force Phoenix. This program was formalized in April 2003, based near the Kabul Military Training Center coordinating collective and individual training, mentoring, and Coalition Force support.
Each ANA HQ above battalion level has an embedded Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (OMLT) of NATO trainers and mentors acting as liaisons between ANA and ISAF. The OMLTs co-ordinate operational planning and ensure that the ANA units receive enabling support. Operational Mentor and Liaison Teams have gone by others names such as Embedded Training Teams and Partnered Mentor Teams, this is particularly true for American Forces.
Individual basic training is conducted primarily by Afghan National Army instructors and staff at ANATC's Kabul Military Training Center, situated on the eastern edge of the capital. The ANA are still supported, however, with various levels of CSTC-A oversight, mentorship, and assistance. The US military assists in the basic and advanced training of enlisted recruits, and also runs the Drill Instructor School which produces new training NCOs for the basic training courses. Basic training has been expanded to include required literacy courses for recruits who don't already know how to read.
A French Army advisory team oversees the training of officers for staff and platoon or company command in a combined commissioning/infantry officer training unit called the Officer Training Brigade, also located at Kabul Military Training Center. OTB candidates in the platoon- and company- command courses are usually older former militia and mujaheddin leaders with various levels of military experience.
The United Kingdom also conducts initial infantry officer training and commissioning at the Officer Candidate School. While OCS is administratively under OTB's control, it is kept functionally separate. OCS candidates are young men with little or no military experience. The British Army also conduct initial and advanced Non-Commissioned Officer training as well in a separate NCO Training Brigade.
The Canadian Forces supervises the Combined Training Exercise portion of initial military training, where trainee soldiers, NCOs, and officers are brought together in field training exercises at the platoon, company and (theoretically) battalion levels to certify them ready for field operations. In the Regional Corps, line ANA battalions have attached Coalition Embedded Training Teams that continue to mentor the battalion's leadership, and advise in the areas of intelligence, communications, fire support, logistics and infantry tactics.
Formal education and professional development is currently conducted at two main ANATC schools, both in Kabul. The National Military Academy of Afghanistan, located near Kabul International Airport, is a four-year military university, which will produce degreed second lieutenants in a variety of military professions. NMAA's first cadet class entered its second academic year in spring 2006. A contingent of US and Turkish military instructors jointly mentor the NMAA faculty and staff. The Command and General Staff College, located in southern Kabul, prepares mid-level ANA officers to serve on brigade and corps staffs. France established the CGSC in early 2004, and a cadre of French Army instructors continues to oversee operations at the school. A National Defense University will also be established at a potential site in northwestern Kabul. Eventually all initial officer training (to include the NMAA) as well as the CGSC will be re-located to the new NDU facility.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Kane Mangin of the Australian-led of the International Artillery Training Team, the Afghan National Army (ANA) Artillery Training School in Kabul is expected to train enough officers and NCOs for about 23 artillery batteries, using the D-30 howitzers of the ANA Artillery Branch.
According to statements made by Colonel Thomas McGrath in October 2007, the coalition supporting the build-up of the ANA has seen progress and is pleased with the Afghan performance in recent exercises. McGrath estimated that the ANA should be capable of carrying out independent brigade-size operations by the spring of 2008. This did not happen because of the many challenges that Afghanistan faced. According to a 2009 news report, the ANA has been plagued by inefficiency and corruption. Training efforts have been drastically slowed by the corruption, widespread illiteracy, vanishing supplies, and lack of discipline. According to the United States Government Accounting Office (GAO), the illiteracy problem has been a major contributing factor to the ongoing shortage of non-commissioned officers, and of enlisted men trained in technical skills, because according to the report, these positions require greater literacy. General John Allen stated in 2013 that more than 50% of the ANA can read and write at a first grade level. What began as a voluntary literacy program became mandatory for basic army training in early 2011. Another significant problem for the Afghan National Army is a high level of drug abuse amongst its soldiers. The Special Investigator for Afghan Reconstruction reported the number of ANA soldiers using drugs was "at least 50 percent" and may be as high as 75 percent of all Afghan soldiers, according to some reports.
In some cases, US trainers have reported missing vehicles, weapons and other military equipment, and outright theft of fuel provided by the U.S. Death threats have also been leveled against some U.S. officers who tried to stop Afghan soldiers from stealing. Some Afghan soldiers often find improvised explosive devices and snip the command wires instead of marking them and waiting for U.S. forces to come to detonate them. The Americans say this just allows the insurgents to return and reconnect them. US trainers frequently had to remove the cell phones of Afghan soldiers hours before a mission for fear that the operation will be compromised by bragging, gossip and reciprocal warnings.
In other cases NATO trainers spent large amounts of time verifying that Afghan rosters are accurate – that they are not padded with “ghosts” being “paid” by Afghan commanders who quietly collected the bogus wages. It was reported in 2009 that in one green unit in Baghlan Province, some soldiers have been found cowering in ditches rather than fighting. Some were suspected of collaborating with the Taliban against the Americans or engaging in reciprocal exchanges on offensives or unsanctioned psychological warfare through boasts or using their knowledge to communicate with friends or family in the battlezone. For example, in multiple firefights during the February 2010 NATO offensive in Helmand Province, many Afghan soldiers did not aim — they pointed their American-issued M-16 rifles in the rough direction of the incoming small-arms fire and pulled their triggers without putting rifle sights to their eyes. Their rifle muzzles were often elevated several degrees high. During the battle for Combat Outpost Keating in October 2009, ANA troops ran away, hid under their beds, and stole from the American barracks.
Desertion has also been a problem. One in every four combat soldiers quited the ANA during the 12-month period ending in September 2009, according to data from the U.S. Defense Department and the Inspector General for Reconstruction in Afghanistan. The problem was so severe that the army was forced to write off 2,000 soldiers and officers in a usual month. In order to filter potential deserters from the rank, some of the soldiers are trained by being deployed in real operations. According to NATO statistics, the attrition rate averaged 32 per cent annually over the 12 months that ended in November 2011. In December 2011, The Globe and Mail stated that due to problems officers calculating the number of soldiers within their own ranks, "one educated guess at the true size of the Afghan army puts the force at perhaps 100,000 personnel on duty". A study published in the U.S. professional journal Military Review in 2009 estimated the ANA could never grow larger than 100,000 men, because it is currently losing 42% of the entire force every year to desertion and non-reenlistment. Included in the controversy of developing the ANA, Germany alleged that the US military took 15% of €50 million the German government gave to a trust fund to build up the ANA.
According to Marin Strmecki, a member of the Defense Policy Board and a former top Pentagon adviser on Afghanistan in a speech to the United States Senate, "the Afghan Army should increase to 250,000 soldiers... Only when Afghan security forces reaches those numbers would they achieve the level necessary for success in counterinsurgency." In 2009, U.S. Barack Obama called for an expansion of the Afghan National Army to 260,000 soldiers. The cost would reach $20 billion dollars and provide the army with more modern equipment. Sales of US Arms to Afghanistan alone totaled nearly $20 billion for fiscal years 2009 through 2011.
As of mid-2012, a steadily increasing concern over the past couple of years, while still not reflective of the readiness and state of Afghan forces and police as a whole, are the deaths of U.S. and coalition forces at the hands of Afghan forces. These individuals are either Taliban or other militant infiltrators, disaffected or disturbed soldiers, turncoats, or who were disturbed by perceived and/or actual improper conduct by coalition forces. It has worsened enough to the point where two decrees were issued by the Defense Department in the summer of 2012 stating that all American soldiers serving here are told to carry a magazine with their weapon at all times, and that when a group of American soldiers is present and on duty and Afghan forces are also present, one American soldier must stand apart on guard with a ready weapon.
Following the crash of Kam Air Flight 904 on February 4, 2005, The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) made numerous unsuccessful helicopter rescue operation attempts. Afghan National Army soldiers also searched for the plane. The Ministry of Defense ordered the ANA's Central Corps to assemble a team to attempt a rescue of victims presumed to be alive. The crash site was at an altitude of 11,000 feet (3,400 m) on the peak of the Chaperi Mountain, 20 miles (32 km) east of the Afghan capital of Kabul.
The Afghan army caught the senior Taliban leader Mullah Mahmood near Khandahar, who was wearing a Burkha. Mahmood was suspected of organizing suicide attacks in Kandahar province. More than forty-nine Taliban fighters were killed by the Afghan forces in one of the independent operations carried out by the Afghan forces.
In a rescue operation, the Afghan National Army deployed their Mi-8 helicopters and evacuated flood victims in the Ghorban district of Parwan province. Afghan soldiers safely evacuated 383 families to safer places.
The Afghan Army has already begun small independent operations which were expanded to large-scale operations in spring 2009. One operation included a small retaliation and firing at Pakistan. This incident was fueled by anti-Pakistani tensions in Afghanistan and the rising animosity between the two nations. The Afghan army fired rockets on a Pakistani army border post in the Kudakhel area and tried to infiltrate Pakistani territory, which was repulsed by the Pakistan Army and resulted in ANA Casualties.
Operation Achilles 
The Afghan National Army along with the ISAF successfully engaged Taliban extremist strongholds. This operation was launched on March 6, 2007, to stabilize northern Helmand province for the government to start the reconstruction work.
Battle of Musa Qala 
After 10 months in Taliban hands, the town of Musa Qala was retaken by Afghan National Army backed by ISAF and coalition support. Taliban insurgents had scattered mostly to the north.
Operation Panther's Claw 
Operation Panchai Palang, or Panther's Claw, was a United Kingdom-led military operation of the War in Afghanistan in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan. United Kingdom, Afghanistan, Denmark and Estonia contributed a total of 3,000 soldiers for the operation. The alliance targeted Afghan and Pakistani-based Taliban involved in the drug trade. The battle ran, for a period of time, simultaneously with the US-Afghan Operation Strike of the Sword.
Operation Eagle's Flight 
Gunners from the Afghan National Army fire multiple D-30 Artillery pieces during a night mission at Patrol Base Sorkh Bid during Exercise Eagle's Flight. The Afghan National Army’s (ANA) 4th Brigade are a step closer to deploying gun detachments outside Coalition Patrol Bases after a successful live fire artillery shoot during July 2012. Exercise Eagle’s Flight showcased the improving capability of the 2nd Battery, or Canon Tolay, as they fired high explosive, smoke and illumination rounds onto a designated target area near Patrol Base Sorkh Bid, northern Kandahar. 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment Task Group (3 RAR TG) offensive support mentor capitan Raj Chetty said the ANA has been efficiently protecting the locals for a long time, and can serve as protectors of peace at an even greater level with more knowledge and better training. The battery was well educated and trained before we arrived, and they are at a stage now that [shows] they are ready to deploy, we are just doing final assessments before they go out there.
Operation Khanjar (Strike of the Sword) 
Operation Strike of the Sword or Operation Khanjar began when units moved into the Helmand river valley in the early hours of July 2, 2009. About 4,000 Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade as well as 650 Afghan soldiers were involved, supported by NATO planes. This operation is the largest Marine offensive since the battle of Fallujah, Operation Phantom Fury, in 2004. The operation is also the largest airlift offensive since the Vietnam War.
Since the early 1970s, the Afghan army has been equipped with the Russian AK-47 as their main service rifle. After 2007, billions of dollars worth of military equipment, facilities, and other forms of aid has been provided to the ANA. It also included the building of a national military command center, with training compounds in different parts of the country. Some of the weapons arrived from the United States, which included Humvees and other trucks, M-16 assault rifles, body armored jackets as well as other types of vehicles and military equipment. It also included the building of a national military command center, with training compounds in different parts of the country.
The last Scud launchers were dismantled in 2005.
In 2008, it slowly began replacing the AK-47s with the American M16 rifles. They also began swapping their pick-up trucks for American Humvees as well as adopting other NATO weapons into their arsenal.
The Afghan National Army has a contract with International Trucks. It will provide a fleet of 2,781 trucks which can be used for transporting personnel, water, petroleum and a recovery truck.
Armoured Fighting Vehicles 
|BMP-1||Armoured Personnel Carriers||After the Soviet War in Afghanistan a number of BMP-1 IFVs fell into the hands of Afghan Mujahideen.|
|BMP-2||Armoured Personnel Carriers||1987–2002||150 along with 1,500 9M111 Fagot ATGMs were ordered in 1987 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1987 and 1991 (some of the vehicles were possibly previously in Soviet service). 550 BMP-1s and BMP-2s in service as of 1992. Between 60 and 80 BMP-1s and BMP-2s were delivered from Russia after 2002.|
|M113A2||Armoured Personnel Carriers||173||In 2005, 173 M113A2 APCs also entered service with the ANA |
|Humvee||Armoured Personnel Carriers||8,500||Up-Armored M1151 and M1152 versions. In August 2010, an order was placed for a further 2,526 M1152A1 HMMWVs with B2 armor kits, for the Afghan National Guard & police. 950 M1114 Humvees delivered by November 2012.|
|M1117 Armored Security Vehicle||Internal security vehicle||240||In addition to ASV and APC configurations, other mission variants include: command and control, ambulance, engineering, maintenance, mortar, and reconnaissance vehicles. To be fully delivered by the end of 2012. 240 of 490 have been delivered.|
Quick Reaction Force vehicles 
The Quick Reaction Forces battalions are being organized as motorized infantry equipped with 352 Mobile Strike Force Vehicles (MSFV). Shipments of the Vehicles began in November 2011 and the ANA is to take possession of the first 58 in March 2012.
There is some confusion over the exact amount and type of vehicles in the QRF with various sources giving different figures. While some sources reporting on the formation of the QRF state that 440 – 490 M1117s have been ordered it is unclear whether all of these will be assigned to the QRF. The first 18 M1117s were sent to Afghanistan in November 2011. in March 2012 the ANA will take delivery of the first 58 of 352 MSFVs which will include some or all of the M1117s.
It is likely that 281 of the 352 MSFV will be M1117 Armored Security Vehicle while the other 71 will be other vehicle types including the Navistar 7000 series Medium Tactical Vehicles (MTV) the 4x4 chassis of which is used for the MRAP The US has ordered 9900 of the International MaxxPro MRAP configuration alone for the Afghan National Army and the Iraqi army. Additional support vehicles will also be required to maintain a force such as this in the field.
In order to use the MSFV the members of the quick reaction forces must be trained in their upkeep and maintenance. This began by training Afghan instructors who will help to pass on the knowledge to the Quick Reaction Forces members with increasing levels of responsibility. Currently most of the training is being undertaken by American and French instructors.
The US Army report that the Quick Reaction Forces will be equipped with 352 Mobile Strike Force Vehicles or MSFVs. The MSFV is an updated version of a vehicle supplied by Textron Marine & Land Systems who also produce the M1117. The MSFV utilizing off the shelf parts where possible significantly reducing costs. The standard MSFV APC can be supplied in three options, Gunner Protection Kit, with Turret and as an Armored Ambulance. As of November 14, 2011 18 had been delivered. It is currently not clear whether the 281 MSFVs are in addition to the 490 M117'S or part of the order.
In March 2012 Textron Marine & Land Systems who have produced all of the existing MSFVs were awarded a contract for an additional 64 MSFV to be sent to Afghanistan. These will again be based on the M117. Three variants of MSFV with Turret; MSFV with Objective Gunner Protection Kit; and MSFV Ambulance.
In April 2012 it was announced that a second option to supply a further 65 MSFV in all three variants has been awarded to Textron Marine & Land Systems. This brings the total number of MSFVs to 369.
As of 7March 2013 the Textron has received orders for 634 MSFVs. They report that 300 of these have already been fielded.
Main Battle tanks 
|T-55||Main battle tank||1961–1991||50 T-54s and 50 T-55s were ordered in 1961 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1962 and 1964 (T-54s were previously in Soviet service). 200 T-54s were ordered in 1978 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1978 and 1979 (the vehicles were previously in Soviet service). 705 T-55s were ordered in 1978 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1978 and 1991 (the vehicles were previously in Soviet service). There were 1,000 T-54s, T-55s, T-62s and PT-76s were in service as of 1 April 1992. Currently 600 T-55s are in service and are to be replaced with M60 Pattons.|
|T-62||Main battle tank||1973–1991||100 ordered in 1973 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1975 and 1976. 155 ordered in 1979 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1979 and 1991 (the vehicles were probably previously in Soviet service). T-62 variants in service with the Afghan army were T-62, T-62M and T-62M1.|
Air Defence/Artillery 
|BM-21 Grad||Multiple rocket launcher|
|ZSU-23-4||Self-propelled anti-aircraft gun||20 were delivered from USSR.|
|ZU-23-2||Anti-aircraft gun||Mostly left by the Soviet Union at the time of the withdrawal. Many mounted on trucks as improvised fire support systems.|
|ZPU-4||Anti-aircraft gun||Variants include ZPU-1 and ZPU-2.|
|2A18||Howitzer||60+ ||Also known as the D-30|
|130 mm towed field gun M1954 (M-46)||Howitzer|
Small Arms 
|Makarov pistol||Semi-automatic pistol|
|TT pistol||Semi-automatic pistol|
|M9 pistol||Semi-automatic pistol||+15,700|
|Stechkin APS||Fully automatic Machine pistol|
|Mosin-Nagant||Bolt action rifle||Ceremonial use.|
|AK-47||Assault rifle||Phased out of the service since 2008. Used by Afghan Special Forces and some regular units.|
|Type 56 Assault rifle||Assault rifle||Storage.|
|M16 rifle||Assault rifle||104,000||2007–2009||The U.S. military provided the Afghan army with M-16 rifles as part of a modernization effort.|
|M4 carbine||Assault rifle||42,189||2008–2009||Only used by Afghan Army Commandos and Special Forces. M4s sold as part of a 2006 Foreign Military Sales package. Additional M4s sold as a 2008 Foreign Military Sales package.|
|C7||Assault rifle||2,500||2007–2008||On December 23, 2007, CTV News and the CBC News television network reported that the Canadian armed forces would supply the Afghan National Army with 2,500 surplus Colt Canada C7 rifles along with training and ammunition in order to bring the ANA up to NATO equipment standards. In June 2011, the Afghan National Army returned the C7 rifles as the rifles were on loan until fully replaced by the U.S. M16 (C7 and M16 are the same rifle)|
|Dragunov sniper rifle||Sniper rifle|
|M24 Sniper Weapon System||Sniper rifle||1,200|
|M249 SAW||Light machine gun||16,248|
|RPK ATM||Light machine gun|
|M240 machine gun||General purpose machine gun||30,152|
|PK machine gun||General purpose machine gun|
|RPD||General purpose machine gun||Storage|
|DShK||Heavy Machine Gun|
|NSV machine gun||Heavy Machine Gun||Used in low numbers.|
|M2||Heavy machine gun||19,500|
|MILAN||Anti-tank Missile||Limited number available.|
|M203 grenade launcher||Grenade launcher||9,250|
|82 mm Medium Mortar||Mortar||500|
Other vehicles 
- International 7000-MV
- Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) trucks
- Tata Motors SK1613/SE1615/SE1615TC 4½ ton trucks (50+)
- 2½ ton trucks
- Jeeps (120+) – likely Tata Motors Sumo Jeep or Mahindra Jeeps
- Other Technicals of various origins:
- BTS-4 Armoured Recovery Vehicle
- Bridge Laying Vehicles:
- BTM-3 Mine Clearing Vehicle
See also 
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Further reading 
- Antonio Giustozzi, ‘Shadow Ownership and SSR in Afghanistan,’ Chap. 11 in Tim Donnais (ed.) 'Local Ownership and Security Sector Reform,' DCAF/Lit Verlag, Zurich/Berlin, 2008 ‘Local Ownership.’ Portrays a varying level of vested interest/warlord subversion of reform among the various security agencies; little local ownership at the MOD/ANA despite several attempts to seize more local control and subvert the foreign process by not proving enough personnel, imposing different officers, and wanting a conscript force. The army is financially unsustainable even at 70,000 strong and not being trained for combat in small units.
- Antonio Giustozzi, War, politics and society in Afghanistan, 1978–1992
- James Hardy, 'British MP urges changes to Afghan forces,' Jane's Defence Weekly, v.48, no.35, August 31, 2011, p. 15 (ISSN: 0265-3818).
- Lieutenant Colonel Gavin Keating, 'Living in the Twilight Zone: Advising the Afghan National Army at the Corps Level,' Australian Army Journal, Vol. VIII, No. 3, Summer 2011.
- U.S. Army Area Handbook: Afghanistan, 1969, revised 1973
- 'US seeks to halve ANSF funds by 2014,' Jane's Defence Weekly, 5 October 2011. Reporting comments by Lt Gen Caldwell, Commander NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A), 26 September 2011.
- "U.S. Acquisition Decisions Undermine Afghan Air Force". Daniel Goure, Ph.D. January 28, 2013. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
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