Security

Afghan authorities laud own Special Forces

By Sulaiman

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on March 24 inspects a rifle at a Special Forces training centre in Kabul. [Courtesy of Afghan Presidential Press Office]

KABUL -- Afghan Special Forces are winning plaudits from officials and analysts for their role in fighting terrorism.

The troops serve within the ministries of defence and interior and the National Directorate of Security (NDS). Their tasks include targeting terrorist leaders and centres as well as thwarting terrorist attacks.

Authorities do not disclose the troop strength of the Special Forces.

Effective forces win praise from high officials

The Special Forces punch far above their weight, according to Interior Minister Gen. Taj Muhammad Jahid.

"They cause defeats on battlefields," he said at the Interior Ministry last November.

"During the past nine months, the Special Forces killed at least 400 key Taliban figures," he said in his speech, according to local media. "They conducted the fiercest anti-Taliban operations all over Afghanistan."

In a visit to the police's Special Forces General Command Centre March 24, President Ashraf Ghani praised the Special Forces' courage, knowledge and work.

Ghani expressed his gratitude for the Special Forces' swift work in wiping out the terrorists who attacked the Sardar Daud Khan military hospital in Kabul March 8.

"The people of Afghanistan trust you and are proud of you," he said, according to local media.

Saving lives, destroying militant nerve centres

One man who can speak knowledgeably of the Special Forces' lethal skill is Abdul Raqib, commander of the 222nd Special Forces within the Ministry of Interior.

He and his troops killed the terrorists who attacked the Sardar Daud Khan Hospital.

"The Special Forces eliminated all the attackers and saved hundreds of lives by ... landing a helicopter on the roof [and then going in]," Raqib told Salaam Times.

In another triumph, Afghan commandos rescued a Pakistani VIP who had been held hostage for three years.

"Forces from the international community and Afghan strategic allies have trained our Special Forces in accordance with their own forces' standards," Ministry of Defence spokesman Gen. Dawlat Waziri told Salaam Times. "There are no commandos in the region as fine as ours."

"Last year, our commandos ... targeted an al-Qaeda centre in Paktia Province," he said. "They freed [Ali Haider Gilani], son of Yousuf Raza Gilani, the former prime minister of Pakistan."

The younger Gilani was kidnapped in Pakistan in 2013 and had been held hostage for three years.

"Not long ago, our commandos conducted a special operation deep inside enemy lines in Helmand Province," Waziri said. "They destroyed six Taliban jails and freed dozens of prisoners."

Afghan Special Forces conduct the "most precise operations far behind Taliban lines", Gen. Ayoub Salangi, former deputy interior minister, told Salaam Times.

"Two years ago, the Special Forces carried out a strategic operation ... in Khost and Paktia provinces," he said. "They destroyed the Taliban and Haqqani Network's largest planning centre. Later, they thwarted all the terror plots they found on [insurgent] computers."

Moving fast, hitting hard

One characteristic of these forces is that they reach the target and destroy the enemy in the shortest time possible," said Waziri. "We use them only in extremely dangerous and complex operations."

All the years of advanced training has meant minimal casualties for the 222nd Special Forces, said Raqib.

"The members of these forces have received the highest-quality training from Resolute Support Mission trainers," he told Salaam Times.

Afghan commandos carry out a two-part strategy, he said.

"The first part consists of urban operations ... against terrorists who attack institutions inside cities and towns," he said. "The second part, strategic operations, consists of targeting terrorist strongholds, battle commanders and shadow governors."

In five years of existence, the 222nd Special Forces have conducted 45 urban operations in Kabul Province and have destroyed Taliban suicide bombers and offensive units, said Raqib.

Other observers have hailed the Special Forces for their scrupulous work.

"These forces always act professionally and take all precautions to avoid civilian casualties," Jawed Kohistani, a Kabul-based military analyst, told Salaam Times. "It's essential to build up these forces and use them to defeat the enemy."

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Long life to the Special Forces. Death to the enemies of Afghanistan.

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