Deputy Notes Progress of Afghan Training Mission

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2011 — Before 2001, Afghanistan had a lot of war­riors, but few dis­ci­plined sol­diers or police.
Coali­tion forces came into the coun­try and took on al-Qai­da and the Tal­iban, but the long-term plan always has been to train Afghans to secure their own coun­try.

The NATO train­ing mis­sion has made tremen­dous progress over the past two years to train Afghan secu­ri­ty forces, and this month Afghan forces began tak­ing over secu­ri­ty respon­si­bil­i­ty for sev­en areas of the coun­try cov­er­ing rough­ly 25 per­cent of the population. 

There is much more to train­ing an army and police force than sim­ply pass­ing out rifles and pis­tols to will­ing per­son­nel, said Dr. Jack D. Kem, the deputy to the NATO Train­ing Mis­sion Afghanistan com­man­der, Army Lt. Gen. William B. Cald­well IV, dur­ing a recent inter­view here. 

Train­ers speak of the Afghan police and army as one force, rather than sep­a­rate enti­ties, Kem said. Going for­ward, he explained, the army and police must work togeth­er to guar­an­tee secu­ri­ty in the country. 

Build­ing the Afghan secu­ri­ty force is more than sim­ple train­ing, Kem said. It includes deal­ing with lit­er­a­cy prob­lems, leader devel­op­ment, gen­der inte­gra­tion and human rights, as well as acqui­si­tion issues and Afghanistan’s eth­nic mix. 

Rough­ly 295,000 per­son­nel serve in the Afghan secu­ri­ty force. “We’re build­ing to 305,600 this year, and grow­ing to a force of 352,000 — 195,000 in the army and 157,000 in the police, by Oct. 31, 2012,” Kem said. 

Two years ago, the army, which was the only semi-effec­tive Afghan secu­ri­ty force, was at about 90,000 mem­bers. With the train­ing mission’s focus, the gains over the past two years are in qual­i­ty, not just quan­ti­ty, Kem said. “In Octo­ber 2009, 35 per­cent of recruits qual­i­fied with their weapons,” he said. “Today, 95 per­cent do. Lit­er­a­cy rate is up to 50 per­cent in the army.” 

On the police side, offi­cers now train to a com­mon stan­dard, which was not the prac­tice when the NATO train­ing mis­sion stood up two years ago. “The army is ahead of the police across the board,” Kem said. “But the Afghan Civ­il Order Police is a very good force, too.” 

The army is built around infantry, and kan­daks — the equiv­a­lent of bat­tal­ions — remain the basis for the ser­vice. But over the past two years, the coali­tion has helped to build enablers — engi­neers, sig­nal corps, intel­li­gence and logis­tics forces, the deputy said. “It is a force that pri­mar­i­ly is to respond to exter­nal threats and secure the bor­ders, and to respond to dis­as­ters as need­ed,” Kem said. 

The police have a num­ber of pil­lars. One is the Afghan uni­formed police, which is the typ­i­cal com­mu­ni­ty police force that oper­ates in each of the dis­tricts or provinces. There is the Afghan Bor­der Police, whose mis­sion is self-explana­to­ry. And there is the Afghan Civ­il Order Police, which is a quick-reac­tion, gen­darmerie-type force, along the lines of Italy’s Cara­binieri. They pro­vide a high­er lev­el, para­mil­i­tary type of force. 

The typ­i­cal recruit is “phys­i­cal­ly fit, clear-eyed and they want to work,” Kem said. “They are sur­vivors and high­ly motivated.” 

But they also are illit­er­ate. “About 86 per­cent come in and can’t count to four,” he said. “They have not lived in wealth, so many have nev­er seen run­ning water or dri­ven a vehi­cle. There are a lot of things that we have to do that would­n’t be typ­i­cal in the West.” 

NATO train­ers had to estab­lish lit­er­a­cy class­es, because while the younger gen­er­a­tion now is in school and the old­est lit­er­ate gen­er­a­tion pre-dates the Sovi­et inva­sion, the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion lived through the Tal­iban regime, which den­i­grat­ed read­ing and count­ing and absolute­ly for­bade women from get­ting an edu­ca­tion. This gen­er­a­tion can’t write their names. 

They want that,” Kem said. “The No. 1 moti­va­tor to join the army and police is lit­er­a­cy. The No. 1 moti­va­tor to stay is the lit­er­a­cy classes.” 

Lit­er­a­cy is a huge issue that cross­es all bound­aries. Secu­ri­ty requires a lit­er­ate force if only to take down license plate num­bers or write reports. From a gov­er­nance stand­point, there are not enough lit­er­ate peo­ple to pro­vide the ser­vices that are need­ed and put in place the rule of law. The long-term eco­nom­ic issue requires lit­er­a­cy to put in place the human cap­i­tal need­ed to prosper. 

We have 110,000 peo­ple in lit­er­a­cy cours­es,” Kem said. “In 10 years, school enroll­ment has gone from 800,000 to 8 mil­lion. Some of that is from our assistance.” 

Lead­er­ship requires lit­er­a­cy — and expe­ri­ence, Kem said. “We always say it takes 10 years to make a major or a mas­ter sergeant,” he said. “We don’t have 10 years, so you take the lit­er­ate and give them a com­bi­na­tion of edu­ca­tion, train­ing and expe­ri­ence, and you pro­vide some of the assis­tance to bring them up. Then you watch them to iden­ti­fy the lead­ers, and you encour­age them.” 

Con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion for the police and the army is cru­cial, and the NATO mis­sion is tak­ing a page from U.S. pro­fes­sion­al mil­i­tary edu­ca­tion. Afghan mil­i­tary and police lead­ers must take class­es through­out their careers. 

Cor­rup­tion is an issue, and even in that, lit­er­a­cy has a role. “If you can’t count to four, you don’t know how much mon­ey is in your pock­et or how much you are paid,” Kem said. “You depend on oth­er peo­ple, which leaves you open to be the vic­tim of corruption.” 

Most Afghans are hon­est and want to be treat­ed fair­ly, he said. The coali­tion needs to help the Afghans cre­ate the struc­tures to enforce the laws so every­body fol­lows the laws. 

Gen­der inte­gra­tion is an impor­tant issue for the Afghans, and a “red-line” issue for the Unit­ed States. The Afghan con­sti­tu­tion guar­an­tees equal rights for women, and the secu­ri­ty force is doing its part to cement these rights in place. The Afghan Nation­al Police want 5,000 women police offi­cers by the end of 2014. Today, there are about 1,200, Kem said. 

Next year, 10 per­cent of the Afghan mil­i­tary acad­e­my class of 600 will be women. Some of the Afghan pilots now train­ing in the U.S. are female. “We are look­ing at areas where we can open the aper­ture for women,” he said. “The Bor­der Police is a clas­sic area where gen­der main­stream­ing will work, and will serve as an example.” 

The NATO train­ing effort has been suc­cess­ful to the point that few NATO per­son­nel are actu­al­ly involved in hands-on train­ing of Afghan forces. They have trained the train­ers and the Afghan mas­ter train­ers, and now are in an over­watch position. 

I think the Afghans are impa­tient about exert­ing their own sov­er­eign­ty,” Kem said. “I think they would be more than hap­py for us to leave, but I don’t think they want us to leave before things are ready, and there is ten­sion there. They’d like to have a long-term rela­tion­ship with us, but not be depen­dent on us.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →