Why don’t we have better Reporting on the Afghanistan Army? It is our Best Hope for Getting Out

With the Qur’an-burning scandal, the Panjwai massacre, repeated demonstrations against the United States, and Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai’s increasingly strident anti-American pronouncements, it seems clear that the US is likely to be withdrawing from that country soon. The Obama administration, its “counter-insurgency” strategy crafted by current CIA head David Petraeus in flames, still hopes for a soft landing. Republican candidates have shown no appetite for staying in Afghanistan either (Newt Gingrich says that Afghans should be ‘left to their miserable lives,’ presumably as punishment for their ingratitude at being militarily occupied by the US and its western allies for over a decade).

I haven’t seen good recent reporting, however, on what seem to me the key elements in a successful US withdrawal, i.e. one that does not lead to another Afghan civil war, one that doesn’t leave the country a playground for regional interests, one that does not result in a takeover by the Taliban.

The centerpiece of US policy is the building up of the Afghanistan National Army, with a target set by President Obama of 260,000. This troop level cannot be sustained by the Afghan government budget, and so guarantees that foreign sources will be necessary to fund the army for years and perhaps decades to come. Is that course really plausible?

What is the current troop strength? How much of the country is the ANA responsible for now (the US and NATO have been turning provinces over to it one by one)? How many tanks does the ANA now have? How many helicopter gunships? What is the ethnic composition of the officer corps now? How loyal are they to Karzai? Who is the army chief of staff and how good is he?

Well, the easy part is that the army chief of staff is General Sher Mohammad Karimi, who is a very worried man. He was graduated from Britain’s prestigious Sandhurst military academy, but also studied in Egypt and Russia. He is worried about US hamfistedness, as with the scandal over the burning of the Qur’an, or the video of US troops pissing on fallen Taliban warriors’ bodies, and the way the Taliban are taking full propaganda advantage. He is worried about presiding over hundreds of thousands of largely illiterate, poorly trained troops (Afghanistan’s literacy rate is 28%, the troops’ literacy rate is about 10%).

Karimi is also concerned about the scaling down of US and NATO plans for support of his military, with recent maximum troop strength now being pegged at 230,000. He wants a bigger army and wants ongoing artillery and close air support.

All of these positions make me concerned about Karimi and the aftermath. He cannot possibly hope to depend on foreign rent so heavily, and on a gigantic, swollen army. If I were Karimi, I’d get NATO to buy me as many tanks and artillery pieces as they would right now, and train the men on them like crazy (for defense of main cities). More emphasis on light, mobile, forces backed by helicopter gunships for fighting in the more rugged areas is also necessary (for taking the fight to the enemy). It was only when the Soviets learned to fight that way that they even began to hold their own, back in the mid-1980s. (The Karzai government is fixated on getting F-16s fighter jets, which are useless for counter-insurgency.)

Depending on big Western aid budgets and Western close air support is unwise. Afghanistan in 2016 may not be a budget priority abroad. And the country cannot hope to support this enormous military establishment all by itself. It would swallow up the whole national budget.

The recruitment drive for the army had stalled out at 170,000 by last September. There were enormous numbers of troops going AWOL in 2010. The last figure I saw suggested that only two percent of the ANA is drawn from the provinces of Helmand and Qandahar, strongholds of the old Taliban. That kind of resistance to national integration could prove fatal, since even ANA troops therefore would look to locals like foreign occupiers.

Reporting on the ANA performance on the ground is sketchy. Karimi alleges that 60% of military operations are now carried out by the ANA independently of NATO, but I doubt very many important battles are pursued without Western support. It is being alleged that an operation led by ANA forces and supported by Afghanistan National Security Forces and a British unit against Taliban in Gereshk, Helmand, went well, with the fundamentalist guerrillas scattering before the ANA advance. If this report is true, and if it is representative, it would indicate progress in ANA capabilities, but obviously they still needed British backup.

It is the cohesiveness, efficiency, and counter-insurgency capabilities of the Afghanistan National Army that will go a long way toward determining the future of the country. We need more good reporting about what exactly is going on with the ANA.

What I can find out on the web suggests to me that the troops need more education. Why not a University of Maryland type educational program for them such as US GIs have access to? (Obviously in Afghanistan it would be elementary and high school education that most need). They need better armor and light aircraft and training on them. They need better esprit de corps. Karimi is excited about plans for a Sandhurst-style officer training academy in Kabul, but the quality and initiative of his fighting troops is just as important.

The US public is uninterested in or tired of Afghanistan. Obama should give up on a US-led attempt at counter-insurgency (winning hearts and minds, indeed) and instead put all its eggs in the basket of ensuring that the ANA and the national police have the capacity to do their jobs.

That capacity depends on perhaps a smaller but better trained and equipped force that is learning to act more independently. Karimi is playing the bureaucrat in a rentier state, expecting ongoing big money from outside sources. It isn’t likely to arrive. And his clear dependence on the US and NATO for back up and air support is unrealistic in the extreme. He needs to change his leadership style, or Afghanistan needs a different kind of military leader.

I was referred by some readers to the ISAF site for info on the Afghanistan army. Yes, I know. Click and see if that does it for you.

Posted in Afghanistan | 39 Responses | Print |

39 Responses

  1. there is no reporting on afghan casualties, on afghan life, nothing about the local governments as you note …

    it seems it’s a usa military colony.

    and why is the usa there after all these years? not the mythical al qaeda … it must be the minerals, and keeping them from china

    • “and why is the usa there after all these years? not the mythical al qaeda … it must be the minerals, and keeping them from china”

      Are you joking? The Chinese are already involved in attempting to work out deals for access to Afghan mineral wealth, and the U.S. presence is inadvertently providing the security that, if successful, will enable them to do so. The U.S. is not in Afghanistan to keep the Chinese out.

      As for the “mythical Al Qaeda,” I don’t know what parallel universe you have been living in the past two decades. Some universe! Some myth!

      • Ask Joseph Campbell how myths grow and take root. A grain of insight, inspiration or truth, and then all these people come along and fertilize it with their Serious Poop and water it with others’ tears and blood, until what grows bears dang all little connection to the little grain.

        The Experienced Players have blown what, $4 or $8 or $12 trillion of Real Wealth, to chase down how many “al Quaedans,” again? And on the way, sown how many dragons’ teeth, in the Fertile Crescent and neighboring fields? And most of the actual “terrorist plots” have been stopped by cheap, old-fashioned POLICE work?

        How many “villagers” will now, and from other heedless, needless, nugatory idiocies, be seeking and wreaking vengeance on everyone in a Really Cool BDU or ACU? Here’s an example of the wealth transfer that is the REAL MIC in action: link to stripes.com

        And the dead GIs’ “buddies” will then go kill a bunch of random “Hajjis” to satisfy THEIR bloodlust on behalf of THEIR bandofbrothers fellows, right? See a pattern developing?

        The Experienced Players feed off this kind of cycle, and a bunch of others. Too bad ordinary folks don’t get how there’s zero correspondence between the high priests’ Myth-management and what really happens. On the ground.

        The Experienced Players are the ones in the (unfortunately higher-order) alternate universe. Sucking the rest of us, ever so Seriously, down a Gravity well of their digging.

        • I am well aware of Joseph Campbell’s work, and it has nothing to do with the reality (not the myth) of Al Qaeda’s activities over the past two decades. It is evident that you, too, have been living in some parallel universe.

        • Is this an index of the “al Qaeda” activities in your parallel universe? link to en.wikipedia.org

          How interesting that this list, and others like it, refer to “alleged attacks.” Maybe understandable, given the contributors to the article, one weakness of Wiki that I would grant you, and the pleasure with which certain sociopaths are happy to claim “credit” for the madness of others. Yes, there are bad people, e.g. Timothy McVeigh and old whatshisname, bin Ladin. Does it take the present huge and growing bureaucracy and wealth drain to address the problem? Do the stratagems and actions create still more of the same stuff?

          Is it so nice to have an Evil Terrorist Hypostatization to which to attribute some of the violence in the world (the part not committed by OUR folks, or at their instigation or behest — which NEVER happens, now does it, and if it does, it’s always justifiable, or plausibly deniable)? How many drone strikes, and Special Ops, and etcetera, make up our “NATO” Baker’s dozen?

          And trillions of taxpayer dollars to chase down how many “terraists,” again? link to slate.com

          Very impressive Wikilist. Maybe I’ll take some time to pick apart some of the entries, to do the feckless task of parsing their provenance…

  2. RE:”a successful US withdrawal, i.e. one that does not lead to another Afghan civil war, one that doesn’t leave the country a playground for regional interests, one that does not result in a takeover by the Taliban.”

    Please explain why after all the human and material costs over so many years, you still believe these outcomes are worth even more blood and treasure.

    • Yeah, and which of those goals do you think wouldn’t be good for *Afghans.* They are more important than anti-imperialism.

      • Only Afghans can answer that, we aren’t and have no standing to impose our/your judgement on them.

      • But are they worth American lives and treasure. Our military signed up to risk their lives to defend American lives, freedom and what have you. They did not sign up to defend the lives of people in foreign lands. If our soldiers are to die and be maimed for life, let it be in behalf of the nation they love, not the nation whose people are killing them.

        I flatly reject staying, and losing American lives, because “Afghanistan needs us to.”

        • I mean, like, after all, Afghanistan is not VIETNAM, after all. Altogether different. Thousands of miles away. “Towelheads” instead of “slanty-eyes.” Totally, like, more perfectly compelling geopopulatsitical justificalimiation.

          Went to local department stores for some new shoes and a dress shirt and slacks. Amazing how much stuff at Beall’s and Steinmart is artfully labeled “Made (by Commies) In Vietnam.”

          How many years will it be, before it will be asked about Notagainistan, “What was that all about, again, Stan?”

  3. The Obama administration surely realizes they can really just get away with any kind of crap in Afghanistan since it will be blamed as a character flaw of the government (this feeds the nationalist, tribal logic that Red and Blue can agree on).

    Recall what happened as we left Iraq. The bombed out country kept people from organizing there, and the government played power games, inciting terror from their followers.

    This story was successfully carried off as an internal problem, with government officials trying to hold each other accountable for their alleged crimes, and the US was seen as a peacemaker — between Iraqi government officials. In other words, any discussion about the US’s contribution to this problem was maybe not even discussed. (It’s surely worth a research project).

    We are already seeing this story leech its way into today’s discussion on Afghanistan. US lawmakers and candidates are condemning Karzai, not for his complicity with the illegal occupation, or his general thuggery, but for his occasional outburst against the US. The US diplomat managed to speak out of both sides of his mouth, covering for Karzai by seeing his own humanity in his anger, and mentioning his own ability to get over it. Maybe I’m wrong but it looked to me like a clear message to Karzai that he’s not a problem as long as he doesn’t push it.

    The replay of the Iraq pullout story will make sure the effects of war on the society and infrastructure of Afghanistan are suppressed. That would include things like schools, the capability of police. It’s fine to see victims obviously, as long as our role in their victimizing is not known.

  4. Can you explain what you mean by University of Maryland type educational program? I glossed the gist of this as referring to the GI bill but then took a second take as there were too many qualifiers to support my initial interpretation. What are you getting at and referring to here if not a program to compensate Afghan soldiers with liberal education? And as you said, if the vast majority of them are illiterate, how can such a package be created? I like the idea by the way, and think it less costly and more productive than a lot of ideas, with a soft power factor that should not be under-estimated. I’m thinking Dari and Pashto reading and writing literacy, and Math and English lessons as well.

    • When I (a army PFC draftee) was teaching fellow US occupation troops at the U.of Maryland Far East Division in Korea in 1950, my students were mainly junior officers who needed a BA for promotion. I guess the U MD still has this arrangement at most US imperial bases around the world.

  5. “What is the current troop strength? How much of the country is the ANA responsible for now (the US and NATO have been turning provinces over to it one by one)? How many tanks does the ANA now have? How many helicopter gunships? What is the ethnic composition of the officer corps now? How loyal are they to Karzai? Who is the army chief of staff and how good is he?”

    Troop strength, ethnic composition, helicopter gunships, and areas of responsibility are all interesting. Nevertheless, the most important determinant of the ANA’s capability to conduct operations is its effectiveness to operate on its own, without ISAF support. To date, all indications are the ANA has not reached that level. When ANA forces do conduct operations, they very often have to call on coalition support to back them up and finish the job. That there is only a year left for them to get up to speed does not bode well.

  6. It’s not like the same crap has not played out, time after time, or that the Experienced Players aren’t all over how to maximize their individual and clan gains and continue the Game.

    See: the Roman “provinces,” late-Imperial style.

    And see the wonderfully precious, unintentionally revealing self-paean by CIA Experienced Player Gary Schroen, “First In: An Insider’s Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan.” Which is all about the dysjuction between tactical trickery and the myth-dependent aspirations of the Imperial Capitol-istas in DC. And which, if read with an honest eye, makes it absolutely clear that everything “we” have forced in Notagainistan was, is, and will be a freakin’ fool’s errand. The neophyte sailor’s search for “100 feet of shore line…”

    Viagra-on-tap, and cubic feet of shrink-wrapped $100 bills, do not buy “pacification” or “loyalty” of warlords steeped in Pashtunwali and analogous codes. What a surprise. Anybody remember the “Tarbaby” fable? link to en.wikipedia.org

    GIVE that guy some F-16s and “Attack Helicopters.” The “Wogs” have various MANPADs and “people” happy to show how to use them. More MIC sales opportunities there. Love the myth that “we” control anything. More than enough reasons to call “us” “Uncle Sucker…”

  7. “The Karzai government is fixated on getting F-16s fighter jets, which are useless for counter-insurgency.”

    And you are focused on tanks and artillery which are equally useless for counter-insurgency. They are great for massed troops and fortifications, but insurgents don’t employ massed troops and fortifications.

  8. We did not even finish reading your report as even your plan of arming the ANA with tanks and helicopter gunships does not seem realistic either.
    All that we can hope for is that the Iranians and maybe the Uzbecks or Tadjicks will make an alliance of convience and that they will support anti taliban forces who can hopefully keep control of part of the country and that after trying for a while to capture the whole country the taliban will eventually give up and settle for part of it. We COULD hope that they will not be be even more looney than the Saudis this time around but I am not sure that we CAN have such a hope.

    • I think you are corrrect. Everything will revert back to the status quo of September 10, 2001, with the Northern Alliance reconstituted and bankrolled by Russia, Iran, India and some anti-Islamist border states, waging a permanent war against the Taliban and its credit line from the Pakistan Army. That Army is the problem; it will not abandon its entitlement to maintain Afghanistan as a client state. The other countries cannot tolerate a Taliban state on their border. So it goes.

      • That’s so beautiful it almost made me want to cry…

        And over time, things will, thanks to the soaring spirits and Herculean efforts of a modicum of Ordinary People, somehow reach another point of meta-stability, just awaiting some new input of “projected force” from the Experienced Players and Serious People (or another crazy-Bob homegrown warlord) to knock the ball off the tee again…

  9. Am I totally naïve? Isn’t an Army there to protect the Country’s borders and sovereignty? Police, and civil law enforcement infrastructure is what is needed. In my book, if you build a strong military in a weak civil environment, all you get is a “dictature”.

    • Civil institutions are pointless when the government itself is viewed as illegitimate in many provinces. For the government to fight that is civil war, and in a civil war the army goes everywhere, as ours did in 1861-65.

      If the only thing Afghans could agree on was a military dictator, we’d already have that and conditions there would at least not be worse than, say, Uzbekistan. At least in Uzbekistan there is a single side you can pledge grudging loyalty to and survive. In Afghanistan no one can offer that.

  10. The Afghan army is a creation of the US occupying force as is the Afghan government. Is that arguable?

    Those fighting the US occupation are motivated to remove the US occupation as much as having loyalty to the Taliban. That may be arguable but I suspect it is more and more the case as atrocities against the population mount.

    Regardless of funding and equipment the Afghan army will be acting in US interests and perceived so by the population.

    What can you then say about the character and motivations of this army? What happens to those motivations once the US leaves? What do you think would happen to massive funding given to an army composed of those of a character willing to serve foreign invaders?

    This army will evaporate once the US leaves just as the South Vietnamese Army disappeared when the US left there. It’s the same dynamic. An army created by a foreign occupying power falls apart when the occupying power leaves. I don’t know why anyone would think differently.

  11. Could it be that the real reason an Afghan army is being built is the same reason the United States trained Central and South American armies? That is, to keep the people in line on behalf of a puppet dictator our politicians install at the direction of their corporate campaign donors.

  12. Since military solutions have not worked in Afghanistan, why suggest another? Perhaps the Afghan Army is the problem and not the solution.

    • Bingo! Hammers, and nails… Armies and State Security Apparatus folks are the Right Kind of People, people the Serious Experienced Players can, you know, DEAL with… fellow players in the Great Game.

      Wonder when more people will wake up to the fact that the Kleptocrats and their officer corps are pounding all us round pegs down into their framework of square holes?

  13. I suggest that a review of history shows that all countries that are ruled by themselves, eventually arrive at a form of free enterprise democracy. I know that China, Vietnam, and Russia, etc. haven’t yet got the democracy part, but I can guarantee you it is coming. So we need to let each country sink or swim on its own merits, develop delayed gratification as we watch their many screw-ups en route to success, and stop this utter nonsense external countries can do nation building.

    Withdraw every troop and government person from Afghanistan (including intelligence types); being willing to offer infrastructure aid, but only through direct contracts with intra country Afghan groups that have a proven record, and permanently exorcise oneself from any ideas we have a right to interfere with any other country.

  14. Interesting that you mention Lt. General Karimi, chief of army staff. The Russian news service RT reports that General Karimi has called the Panjwai civilian killings “a premeditated assassination carried out by a number of servicemen”:
    link to rt.com

    The Charlotte Examiner has also picked up the story:
    link to examiner.com

  15. There’s been some good reporting from Gareth Porter: “Contrary to the official portrayal of the Afghan National Army (ANA) as ethnically balanced, the latest data from United States sources reveal that the Tajik minority now accounts for far more ANA troops than the Pashtuns, the country’s largest ethnic group.”

    Joshua Partlow: “At least one in seven Afghan soldiers walked off the job during the first six months of this year, a worsening trend at a time when Afghan and U.S. officials are trying to shift the burden of fighting the Taliban to Afghan security forces.”

    Ray Rivera: “As the deadline looms for the withdrawal of most foreign forces in 2014, the need to enlist more southern Pashtuns is pressing if Afghanistan is to have a national army that resembles the ethnic and geographic makeup of the country.”

    CJ Chivers: “While the American soldiers organized and coordinated their part of the battle on the outpost here, the Afghan soldiers did not participate. Some simply sat and watched.”

    and even the Pentagon!
    The recent Oct 2011 DOD “Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan” brags on the ANA’s vast size, 170,00 troops. How did it grow so large so fast? The report tells us:
    “The ANA has grown dramatically over the past two years and the majority of this force was fielded without receiving any professional training at the branch schools.”
    “The ANSF [army & police] continues to require enabling support, including air (both transport and close air support), logistics, ISR, and medical, from coalition resources to perform at the level necessary to produce the security effects required for Transition.”

    They’ve had no professional training! I guess that’s why their exploits go unreported and why Amlaqullah Patyani, in charge of all Afghan army training, recently said: “We have no clue how to operate the weapons that NATO gives us.”

    The ANA is not a competent, complete military force! So it can’t operate on its own.
    link to defense.gov

  16. so whatever you think of the Taliban, the puppet government, the warlords, and the heroin trade, the treatment of women, and so on,

    you have to admire

    the soldiers of Afghanistan, have now defeated the mighty USSR, and the USA.

    amazing isn’t it?

  17. I can’t help but think that a lot of the money that the US sends to the Pakistani military is being funneled to the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Taliban were, after all, the creation of the Pakistani military and intelligence services and it is not likely they have given up on their desire to see them in power in Afghanistan. They did, after all, harbor Bin Ladin. So this is quite a balancing act the US is trying to pull off there. Trying to create a national entity that can stand up to Pakistan which is right next store and still getting lots of US aid.

    • Good observation, Ann. High-level elements of the Pakistani military support the Taliban for two reasons. One, they know the U.S. will eventually leave, and they want an Afghan government they can influence. Two, Following on that, they want an Afghan government they can influence as a counterbalance to their doctrinally-determined enemy, India. As you so succinctly put it, the U.S. indeed has quite a balancing act.

  18. Its true that fighter jets aren’t particularly useful against guerrillas in rugged terrain, but they are useful for countering air and armour deployed by other countries. Is it possible that Karzai wants the jets to prevent or oppose an invasion by some regional power (I’m looking at you, Pakistan)?

  19. Does the Afghan army need to be able to take over from the US/NATO….are their interests the same really? Is it so surprising that the ANA doesn’t show quite the same level of enthusiasm for killing its own countrymen and US troops do?
    And of course the Karzai government may well be intent on digging in and getting some powerful hardware – as would any puppet when the foreign power behind them pulls out …I can’t recall any sympathizers/collaborators who have been embraced with love by their peers once the occupier/protectors have gone home.

    • Think the hypergolic mixture “we” insist on calling the ANA is bad? Even the Vaunted US Uniformed Military is not a perfectly cohesive entity. There’s more than enough Green-on-Green violence and predation and rape, and instances of GIs getting it on with mere US civilians. At higher levels, the intramural warfare over position and procurements and who writes the Doctrine is pretty fierce. I bet the Drone-ers are all about getting rid of unreliable fleshly Troops in favor of career-boosting, “mission-dedicated” “power-projecting” “product deployments.”

      Not wise to reify or personify either “our” military, or the thing our Brass has decided to label the ANA. History is way against that. Again, for an insider’s view of what’s likely next, you could do worse than read CIA paramilitary Gary Schroen’s “First In: An Insider’s Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan.” The CIA’s tunnel-vision, “Yeah, We’re Cool” take on the book: link to cia.gov But the inadvertent highlighting of the tribalist, individualist culture of shifting loyalty, violence and venality ought to inform our “citizens” of what a Tarbaby “our” Rough Men have suckered us into one-two punching, kicking with both feet, and now head-butting…

  20. The ANA’s problem is even more stark than Juan’s column would suggest. This is a country that:
    a)is famed for its martial traditions,
    b)has been at war for over thirty years,
    c)has a fairly young population (median age: 18), and
    d)has very high unemployment (I’ve seen estimates of 40%).

    The failure to assemble a large national army under these conditions is breathtaking. I think it indicates the complete political failure of NATO and the Karzai regime, more than any other measure possibly could.

  21. “Is it so surprising that the ANA doesn’t show quite the same level of enthusiasm for killing its own countrymen and US troops do?”

    No, it’s not surprising at all, and it has nothing to do with the ANA’s “love” for their own countrymen. Afghanistan has never developed a national identity that would lead to your observation. In fact, Afghans have shown throughout history that they have no compunction about killing “fellow” Afghans when they see it in their interest to do so. That they have historically come together to fight foreign invaders does not alter that fact. The reason they are not as effective as U.S. troops is (pardon the tautology) they are not as effective as U.S. troops. They lack the culture of discipline that an effective military needs.

  22. Noticing on all and I generally do not say ALL MSM outlets this week when they are talking about the massacre of 16 individuals 9 of them children in Afghanistan they are always focused on the soldier who allegedly committed the massacre. They start by saying “there are no excuses” for the massacre..and then they spend the next 5 minutes bringing attention to numerous deployments, his character before he was in the service, dissapointments in his life etc etc. They all seem to be helping this man build an insanity plea. NEVER EVER AND I MEAN NEVER EVER HAS ONE MSM HOST OR GUEST FOCUSED ON WHO THE PEOPLE AND THE CHILDREN ARE THAT THIS MAN ALLEGEDLY MASSACRED. NOT ONCE HAVE I HEARD A HOST OR GUEST FOCUS ON THE PEOPLE IN AFGHANISTAN WHO WERE KILLED. No pictures of the children massacred. Nothing TELLING. Not MSNBC’s Al Sharpton, not Ed Schultz, not Mika of Joe Scarborough, not Diane Rehm, not CNN, not Fox etc. NO one. Talk about dehumanization in our military….dehumanization in the US media. Focus on the children killed, the adults, no names. Total absence

    Anyone else who watches, listens, reads MSM outlets noticing this?

  23. Professor Cole (or another informed commenter), can you point me to more information on the demographic makeup of the ANA–ethnicity, province of origin, religion, etc.? You reference this a bit in the article, but I’m curious to know more.

  24. If the Taliban aren’t afraid to fight NATO, they sure won’t be scared to fight the ANA after NATO’s taken a powder.

    If the ANA wanted to fight and beat the Taliban, then what’s been stopping them during the past five years or so? What is going to make them better at fighting the Taliban after NATO departs, then they are now when they have NATO support?

    Do the Taliban need tanks or helicopters to fight the ANA? Then why would more tanks or helicopters be necessary for the ANA to fight the Taliban?

    This is not an equipment issue. This is a morale issue. It’s a question of will-to-battle. The Taliban got it. The ANA don’t. And that is that.

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