Small Wars Journal

Afghanistan: MoD and MoI Year in Review

Via e-mail from Dr. Jack Kem, Deputy to the Commander, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A) and Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A):

It is remarkable to us that in the past year the army grew by approx 50K soldiers and the police grew by nearly 20K. At the same time the ANSF is growing, the Afghan people value and respect their security forces. A November 2010 Asia Foundation poll found that 92 percent of Afghans agreed or strongly agreed that the army is honest and fair, while 84 percent thought the same about the police. The Afghan people's appreciation and respect for their security forces remains steady as we begin to achieve major milestones in our mission for a stable, independent Afghan Security Force.

To be sure, there are significant challenges facing the ANSF. These include: illiteracy, attrition, and leader development. NTM-A is committed to assisting the ANSF overcome these challenges and instill a culture of stewardship. The attached papers offer an assessment of the change that has taken place in MOI and MOD over the past year. The highlights are:

1. Interior Minister Mohammadi and Defense Minister Wardak have instituted significant leadership changes, reformed policy, and laid a solid foundation to assume responsibility for Afghanistan's security in 2014. Both ministers are committed to building a professional force that is ethnically-balanced.

2. Change is supported by new laws such as the Inherent Law on Officers and NCOs to improve personnel policies and new regulations to improve retention, information sharing, and cooperation.

3. Interior Minister Mohammadi is attempting to decentralize the Interior Ministry by empowering his deputies and ensuring local commanders have the authority and resources they need.

4. Defense Minister Wardak is undertaking significant organizational change by creating the Ground Force Command and holding his commanders responsible for their unit's attrition, training, and operational effectiveness.

5. Outside of individual ministry reform, there are several initiatives to improve cooperation between Interior and Defense. This includes MOD transferring small arms to MOI, formalizing joint training, and improving information sharing. The ministers increasingly recognize the importance of approaching common problems such as attrition, pay, and training as an ANSF problem.

The international community has much to be proud of in Afghanistan, but as the NATO Summit in Lisbon made clear, progress requires commitment to training and equipping the ANSF through 2014 and sustaining an enduring partnership beyond 2014; and the Afghan people agree. In the same Asia Foundation poll that found high levels of Afghan public support for the ANSF, Afghans recognized there is much work to be done and international assistance is essential to training the force.

Ministry of Defense: Year in Review - NTM-A Information Paper

Ministry of Interior: Year in Review - NTM-A Information Paper