Afghan Forces and the Post-2014 War
Ahead of withdrawal of foreign troops, the capabilities and readiness of Afghan forces is a main concern for Afghans who are worried about stability of the country after 2014. According to the Afghan and US officials, the Taliban have been unable to capture any ground from Afghan forces that have been fighting the insurgency alone for the first time since the US invasion in 2001. However, the US and NATO officials warns that the Afghan security forces are yet to be prepared for a long-term and sustained fight against the hard-headed implacable insurgency that is determined to seize grounds after foreign forces leave by 2014.
Afghan forces have already taken the lead role in military operations across the country as the US-led NATO forces are shifting to a support and advise role. Though in the lead, Afghan forces are not fully capable to independently lead the operations of war and remain relying on assistance from foreign forces to carry out their anti-insurgency operations. When taking complete security responsibilities, the ANSF will need assistance from the US and NATO forces to sustain the fight against the insurgent groups for an unknown period during the next decade. Afghan forces would definitely remain relying on US military in the areas of air support, heavy weaponry, logistics, medical and intelligence. Most likely, the Taliban and other insurgent groups are going to continue the war against Afghanistan’s National Security Forces (ANSF) for years.
Also, the capability of the Afghan National Forces is considerably limited and they would need to rely on NATO and US assistance in firepower, logistics, intelligence, and medical for years. This is while the security situation across the country have been deteriorating this year and the insurgent groups organized major assaults on government installations, non-government organizations’ offices and Afghan security forces. The Taliban mounted their attacks as part of their summer fighting campaign which began last spring, targeting security forces, government buildings and foreign forces stationed in Afghanistan. During past months, the insurgent groups successfully organized major assaults in the capital and other cities and intensified roadside bombings alongside targeting Afghan security forces. The wave of terrorist attacks claimed lives of many and gave the Taliban the upper hand in the conflict, enabling them to pose as the undefeatable fighters.
Given this, the insurgent groups continue fighting and there is not a clear prospect for peace talks with the Taliban which Afghan and the US hoped would help ending the insurgency in the country. As the NATO forces are in the course of drawdown, Afghan forces has no option but to maintain sustained military pressures on the insurgent groups to avoid a security breakdown and Taliban resurgence in absence of the US-led international coalition after 2014. However, the military campaign is not the only way to maintain a better security. The Afghan security institutions need to overhaul the whole security system and review the arrangements of present security system to effectively confront the insurgent groups trying to make the country insecure. The Afghan government should have well-defined transitional strategy in place for maintaining security as the NATO is withdrawing from the country.