March 22, 2011

Transition to nowhere: The limits of "Afghanization"

From The AfPak Channel by Andrew Lebovich -
The strategy of having the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) take over the security burden from the U.S and NATO forces is now a centerpiece of President Obama's Afghanistan policy. But as decision makers continue to push hard for a speedy "Afghanization" of the conflict, serious thought should be given to the current policy paradox of trying to rapidly expand an already unmanageable indigenous military force structure while aggressively pursuing informal security organs, namely static militias and various community defense forces. And with the Afghan government's total annual revenue hovering around $1 billion and the Obama administration's budget request for fiscal year 2012 of $12.8 billion to train and equip Afghanistan's expanding army and national police force, it will be extremely difficult for Afghanistan to manage and sustain a force of that size and expense over the long term without protracted external financial and material support. Realistic expectations and level foresight regarding the physical limitations of these pursuits are required if any sort of security or stability equilibrium is to be achieved in Afghanistan before the eventual scale down of international forces in 2014.

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