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Reasons Spending Billions of Dollars Training the Afghan National Army Could Seriously Flop

Just recently badly laid plans in Afghanistan went wrong. In three different incidents, allies, most from the Afghan National Army, murdered six Americans ; two of them officers in high-security sanctum of Kabul’s interior Ministry. For a short period of time, Marine General John R. Allen, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan withdrew NATO advisors and trainers from all government ministries for their own protection. Up until then, the Afghan National Army was one of the top priorities of the Obama administration’s strategy for drawing down forces in Afghanistan. America has trained thousands over the past 11 years by a horde of dodgy private security contractors, as well as NATO and U.S. troops.

One of the reasons this is a bad idea is that the number of Afghan soldiers and police to be trained varies from 240,000 soldiers and 160,000 police who are also called “soldiers”. That total increases the Afghan National Security Force to about four times the number of current coalition troops in the country.  It costs the U.S. $12 billion annually to train the afghan army and the estimated cost of keeping it beyond 2014 is $4 billion per year, of which the Afghanistan government says it can pay back no more than 12%.

Student Researcher: T.J. Merone, Indian River State College

Sources:

“Why Spending Billions on the Afghan National Army Could Seriously Backfire” Ann Jones, March 8, 2012. http://www.alternet.org/

“After a Decade, Afghan Forces Don’t Trust Americans’ Jon Stephenson and Ali Safi, March 9, 2012. http://www.military.com/news/article/after-a-decade-afghan-forces-dont-trust-americans.html
Instructor: Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D. , Indian River State College

Discussion

            Spending billions of dollars training the Afghan Army, which for the most part is either the enemy in the war or just sits on the sidelines, is not only self-defeating; it is unethical. The Afghanistan government made it clear that it will not pay the American Government back more than12% of the billions of dollars it has already spent. It also said that it does not trust and are “tired of the American people being there.” The American government isn’t getting anything positive out of training the Afghan Army; if anything it poses a serious danger to its troops who are outnumbered by four times.

Six U.S. service members have been killed by their Afghan counterparts since the burnings by Americans of the Quaran. Two were at a joint U.S. Afghan base in the eastern province of Nangarhar, two at a high security Ministry of interior compound in Kabul and two at a joint base in the southern province of Kandahar.

The killings at the Ministry of Interior caused Marine General John R. Allen, the commander of the U.S. led International Security Assistance Force, to withdraw all of the force’s advisers from Afghan ministries until the security and safety of the troops could be improved. Whenever the advisers do come back, it’s expected to be under tighter security restrictions, which is limiting their interaction with the Afghans. Military and U.S. political leaders have said that the violence in Afghanistan won’t ruin the training mission. A coalition spokeswoman, Lt. Lauren Rago said, “It’s business as usual. Nothing has changed that”.  However, this appears to be contrary to fact.  American troops are dying and risking their lives to train nationals who hate them, and no one is getting anything back in return. This is both self-defeating and unethical.

As things stand today, little or no mainstream media coverage has been given to this situation. If there were such coverage, the American people would probably be outraged and question the military, the government, and even the President.  The American people need to know that America is “wasting” money training the Afghanistan soldiers and police while putting American troops in serious danger.