The statements of American institutions and politicians are usually at odds with each other, sometimes characterizing ANDSF a strong force and capable of defending their country and sometimes saying it is “unsustainable”. The recent Pentagon report beset with questions about the capabilities of Afghan National Army (ANA) is America’s concession of failure because it has spent billions of dollars on the force over the past decade and half, yet the country has not been able to create a capable Afghan force.
The key objective of American assistance with Afghanistan was to build an Afghan force able to defend the country without foreign support and prevent Afghanistan from turning into a terror haven once again; however, the past two years showed the goal is yet to be accomplished as Afghan forces are grappling with enormous challenges, from training to funding and equipment. They even suffer heavy casualties due to logistic problems.
While it is right that corruption and partisan treatment at the leadership level of Afghan forces is a barrier to having a strong military force, the inattention of the United States and more broadly the NATO also cannot be overlooked. Even though the United States considers Afghanistan as its major non-NATO ally, it is still unwilling to equip ANDSF with advanced weaponry and military hardware. One of the key problems of Afghan forces is the weak Afghan Air Force (AAF), and despite repeated calls from Afghanistan, the US has not taken any action to truly help Afghan forces become independent. They still need NATO air support, while foreign airstrikes mostly cause civilian casualties.
If the United States really deems Afghanistan an ally in its war on terror, it should give state-of-the-art weapons to Afghan forces so that they can independently protect and prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for terrorists.