Give Afghans forces capable of ensuring national security, was the ambition that justified the timing of NATO in the country until foreign troops leave in 2014.
But this goal was, the image of the coalition strategy defined by the United States, subject to late decisions and changing. Training of the Afghan army began only in 2008. Today, despite undeniable progress, despite the pride expressed by the Afghan officers in the field, the strength of Afghan troops remains a "strategic risk," he said, Monday, Nov. 19 in Kabul, General Oliver Bavinchove, Chief of Staff of the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
NATO says being in the final phase of equipment and training of a force of 352,000 soldiers and 30,000 police officers in total, by the end 2014. Year deadline defined in the NATO summit in Lisbon in late 2010, as reasonable. Schedule as ambitions were reviewed.
In 2011, the model considered "sustainable" financially Washington was reduced to 228,000 men, at an annual cost of $ 4.1 billion (3.2 billion euros). It would have meant to demobilize 30,000 Afghans each year for three years, an idea considered untenable by several allies, including France. ISAF proposes to maintain the goal of training 352,000 men, over a longer period, for an "extra" $ 1 billion per year. Between allies, difficult negotiations are underway for the fund.
Or, say military experts, it takes twenty-five years to train a professional army. The Afghan National Army (ANA) has real fighters, but it suffers from glaring deficiencies. The basic material has not yet happened in all the regiments, especially due to the blocking of the port of Karachi in recent months. The timing of NATO plans to complete this capital plan in the fall 2013.
More basically, the idea of forming a full force, with all the necessary support, had to be rejected. "We are not able to meet the schedule of rise of the air force," said an officer of NATO. This issue will not be resolved in 2014. The ANA is preparing to use a small number of transport aircraft and helicopters Russian MI17 with some means of ground attack.
Other error, ISAF attempted to export a Western model of equipment management, inapplicable.Americans, for example, provided armored Humvees, intended to replace the pick-up in Afghanistan, more mobile but vulnerable. "We do not have spare parts, including smaller ones such as brake pads," he told the World a colonel in Afghanistan. Corruption does not help the situation. Fuel, materials ... harvesting heads on endowments are customary, sometimes to the point of jeopardizing the operation.
NATO has faced the warrior culture of the country. On the one hand, generals and colonels trained in the Soviet school demanding fighter aircraft, tanks and heavy weapons, without which they consider that the Afghan army will not recover its strength. The other, the culture of "seasonal fighter" who occasionally takes up arms in the service of a clan prevents the ANA to deploy permanently.
"The ANA does not occupy the field enough," says an expert. In Kapisa and Surobi, small regions that just left the French army, his counterpart aligns 4700 men on paper, but in deploying a few thousand. Often, the Kandak ("regiment") reduces to a company.
Several measures are encouraged by ISAF, basic but very difficult to implement: Loyalty bonuses, improved living conditions in barracks, soldier's schedule that respects the alternation between combat, rest and training. Desertions are massive: 50 000 190 000 trained men each year, according to ISAF, which it cost 850 million euros.