Afghanistan’s Armed Forces Sustainability
Afghanistan National Security Forces was successful in a major security operation which tested its readiness against a potential resurgence of the Taliban. About 400,000-strong Afghan army and police forces played a remarkable role in securing the elections despite Taliban’s determination to disrupt the polls. The successful security operation for the elections attracted widespread praises for the security forces mainly from the youth. However, the test of sustainability for Afghan security forces is not over. With two major developments going on in the country, Afghan forces are increasing being projected into the heart of a role that would determine Afghanistan’s success or failure to sustain its future.
The successful handling of this year’s elections’ security was a huge success for Afghanistan’s security forces. Given the positive course of political developments in the country, the Election Day success would further help morale of Afghan forces that are in the lead for securing the country. However, many believe that Afghan security forces would be still vulnerable to some factors such as funding, logistics and equipment after withdrawal of the bulk of US and NATO withdraw from Afghanistan by end of the year. Almost all the major candidates have indicated they would sign the security agreement with the United States if they win the elections. It suggests that there are already assurances that the security agreement would be signed.
With the possibility of a US ‘zero-option’ still in place, at least based on Washington, the vulnerability for the Afghan security forces is still real and potential. The negotiations between Afghanistan and the United States over the bilateral security agreement which would allow the US to keep a portion of its troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 are virtually stalled and the United States has abandoned the hope to have the pact signed by President Hamid Karzai. Many Afghan military commanders depict a bleak picture of what will be ahead for the Afghan forces if the US goes with the so-called zero-option. Some even predict that it may quickly unravel due to lack of fund as happened after withdrawal of the Soviets from Afghanistan.
However, there is a broad consensus in Afghanistan that the security pact with Washington is crucially needed for sustainment of the Afghan army and police forces.
Another facet of the challenge is the public perception of the situation in the county. The public perceive the deal with Washington as crucial and views failure to reach an agreement as fatal for the future of the country. Uncertainty over the future of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan will create over future of the country. Therefore, the BSA is needed to be finalized quickly to have the public’s positive view to the overall stability of the country. The finalization of the agreement with the United States would help the Afghan security forces to effectively combat the insurgency and maintain security across the country.