Less Than 1 Percent of Afghan Forces Are Self-Sufficient

Only 1 percent of Afghan police and soldiers are capable of operating independently, a top U.S. commander said on Wednesday, proving further that the nation building effort in Afghanistan has failed.

U.S. Lieutenant General Curtis Scaparrotti said aboutust 29 Afghan army units and seven Afghan police units – together about 1 percent of total security forces – can be called “independent,”  but that even they require combat and logistical support from NATO forces.

Scaparrotti tried to put the failure in a positive light. “These soldiers will fight, particularly at the company level, there’s no question about that. And they’re going to be good enough as we build them to secure their country and to counter the insurgency,” he said. “Will they be at the standard we have for our soldiers? No, not at least the conventional forces.”

The tone is typical of a military culture that systematically misrepresents the progress of the war. As Lieutenant Colonel Daniel L. Davis has recently written, facts on the ground in Afghanistan “bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground.” Davis wrote up a classified report on the progress of the U.S. mission, but concluded he “witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level.”

The Afghan army and police, ostensibly scheduled to take over the security role for the country in 2014, are made up of illiterate criminals and drug addicts who quit in droves. Many are corrupt, inept, and the army is potentially infiltrated with insurgents.

A recent classified coalition report, says the New York Times, “makes clear that these killings have become the most visible symptom of a far deeper ailment plaguing the war effort: the contempt each side holds for the other, never mind the Taliban. The ill will and mistrust run deep among civilians and militaries on both sides, raising questions about what future role the United States and its allies can expect to play in Afghanistan.”

The weakness of the Afghan security forces is coupled with a robust and violent insurgency, with 2011 seeing a rise in overall violence in the country for the fifth year in a row. Unfortunately, the likely response from the U.S. government is not to withdraw, but to remain in a combat role for the foreseeable future.


Last 5 posts by John Glaser

Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.

  • John Ellis

    Crime being to enrich yourself upon the misery of another, the root cause being greed, to desire what you don’t deserve, surely the use of force to overcome such a fake morality can only lead to a Mexican style immorality.

    For to be enriched upon the enrichment of another, this is the only moral solution to a moral problem that cannot be solved by the most perfect and righteous government.

  • Lawrence Cutter

    >>"The weakness of the Afghan security forces is coupled with a robust and violent insurgency"

    As in Vietnam. As in Iraq. There's a vast difference in character and motivation between those who fight for their independence, liberty, homes and family, and those who join up with the occupier for a paycheck because the occupier has destroyed everything else.

  • rick

    So in about another one hundred years of "training" we should have that number up to around 10%.

  • Johnny_Warbucks

    In case there were any doubts. I, for once, am waiting with baited breath till the Empire hauls ass out of Afghanistan, tail between the legs whilst screaming victory. That day, I will start counting the weeks till the Empire collapses on itself.

  • Roger Lafontaine

    Personally, I think they will be self-sufficient when they can drive out the occupiers of their country. Until then they are at best exploited and degraded human beings. I am not blaming them, they've had to deal with the most powerful military in history which oppresses them and destroys their nationhood without regard for their dignity or rights. Someday they will overcome.