ANSF Ready for Takeover?
As Afghanistan is getting closer to a historical juncture of its history in which it is set to take the whole responsibility on its own, there are glimpses of hope that the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) would be successful for taking the lead role of war and security operations in the country. But, of course there are much to worry about the much-talked-about 2014 deadline for US withdrawal and the year in which Afghans would go to ballot boxes to elect a new leader.
Gen. John Allen, the top commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan expressed optimism on ability of the Afghan forces and the ability of them to takeover security responsibility next year. Allen told the Associated Press that the ANSF have improved faster than expected and will be ready to take the lead in the war against insurgency when foreign combat forces shift to supportive role this spring.
In terms of military assessment, the statements made by Gen. Allen are important unless they are an intended campaign of shaping public opinions to pave the way for face-saving withdrawal of troops. Despite that there is a growing sense of war weariness and exhaustion in Washington towards the 11-year-old war in Afghanistan, US commander John Allen have been the military commander who staunchly supported the Afghan war against insurgency and the one who recommended presence of up to 20,000 US troops in Afghanistan after the NATO-US combat forces leaves the country in late 2014.
This is while, many in the US and Afghanistan remain deeply worried over what will come after foreign combat troops take to back seat in coming spring and shift to a ‘support, advise and assist’ role while the Afghan National Security Forces would go alone to fight the hard-headed insurgency next year and the coming years. The Ministry of Defense officials express optimisms on fall of civilian casualties, but in the meantime they acknowledge that the casualties of Afghan National Army (ANA) has risen up due to the grown size of the army and the ongoing process of transition in which the Afghan forces take security lead across the country. But the undeniable fact is that it is partly because of the roaring war against insurgency which would probably continue for many years after withdrawal of foreign troops in 2014.
In addition to the security concerns, though the government of Afghanistan has repeatedly assured the people about the safe passing of the country from the 2014, many are doubtful on commitment of the Afghan government to responsibly transition the country to a new political phase and lead a safe and sound election with a broad national consensus. In fact, the 2014 election is the biggest and most important challenge ahead as it is considered the key for future political stability of Afghanistan. If the government of Afghanistan manages to past this test successfully, it might be able to ensure a successful transition of security as the foreign forces leave the country.