Khaleej Times Online – Afghan army grapples with shortages

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?xfile=data/international/2009/April/international_April1532.xml&section=international

I really enjoyed reading this article because I have a lot to say about it.  So as to avoid rambling, I’m going to put this in bullet format responses as I re-read the article:

  • You have to remember that the cultural differences between the US and Afghanistan are great.  They are much more laid back and seeing them lounging and dancing about is not as strange as it would be if it were US soldiers.
  • Although their military structure is loosely based on ours (and a combo with the Soviets’) they are not the same either.  What works for us will not necessarily work for them.  First of all, Afghanistan in general is not prepared to supply its Army with the sophisticated equipment that we use.  They would not be able to support, fix, train, and sustain with it.  Keep it simple.
  • Remember that we did not have all this heavily armored vehicles and vests until about 6-8 years ago.  When we first entered Iraq, some of the humvees had canvas doors!
  • The article focuses on soldiers at a remote location.  It is no wonder that they dont have as many luxuries and comforts.  I can tell you that where I am at, all the soldiers have cold/wet weather gear, good boots, humvees, body armor, helmets and are starting to get issued M16s.
  • I agree with Hickman on his comment about immediate gratification.  I have seen some soldiers and officers in the ANA simply looking for the US to hand them things.  If we are willing to give them handouts, who are they to break their backs for it?  I really cant blame them, but it has incited them to be a little lazier in some cases.

To sum up, the article makes are great statement,

Building up and training the fledgling Afghan army is a key exit strategy for the United States and other Western powers keen to quell a Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan that last year reached its deadliest yet.

But please do not compare our army which has a wealthy, developed country funding and supporting it and has been around for hundreds of years, to Afghanistan’s “fledgeling” army. We were not the same army in 1636 when Massachusetts formed the first Militia (which later became the National Guard), and we didn’t even have mentors.

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One Response

  1. http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2009/04/the-painting-of-a-picture-with-a-few-choice-words.html

    MsMarti has also done a write up on this article and graciously linked back to me. Please read what she has to say as well.

    Thanks,

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