Security

Specialised military training has led to creation of independent Afghan force

By Sulaiman

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New members of the Afghan Special Forces pose for a photo June 17 after graduation at the Camp Commando School of Excellence in Kabul. [Afghan Special Operations Corps]

KABUL -- The special training and attention that Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) have received from the government and its international allies has helped create a professional and capable security force, Afghan military officials and analysts say.

Afghanistan did not have any army, police, national security or commando forces until 2002.

Now, there are more than 300,000 well-trained forces in the Afghan National Army (ANA), Afghan Air Force, Afghan National Police (ANP), Afghan Local Police (ALP) and National Directorate of Security (NDS) prepared to combat terrorism and other threats to the nation.

"Better training and being equipped [with necessary supplies] have allowed the ANDSF to considerably improve their performance on the battleground," said Arif Kayani, a political and military affairs analyst in Kabul.

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Afghan security forces arrive at the site of a car bombing near Bagram Airfield, north of Kabul in Parwan Province, last December 11. At least one person was killed and dozens wounded when a bomb exploded close to the largest US military base in Afghanistan on December 11, damaging homes and a hospital under construction near Bagram Airfield, officials said. [STR/AFP]

"Special Forces units have received excellent training and foiled most of the [enemy's] destructive military plans thanks to their skills and military training," he added.

"The ANDSF had no strength 19 years ago," Kayani said. "But today, thanks to the government's and its international allies' efforts and special attention, Afghanistan has well-trained and experienced forces who are able to conduct complex and large operations without support from coalition forces."

Elite forces

The ANA Commando Corps is a "professional and experienced force that is unique in the region in terms of its quality, combat experience, equipment, training and leadership," said corps commander Lt. Gen. Farid Ahmadi.

Part of what makes the Commando Corps unique is the rigorous recruitment and selection process, Ahmadi said.

"Only 1,000 out of 5,000 individuals are recruited after a series of tough tests and reviews," he said. "Literacy, suitable physical and psychological health, and the ability to operate under any circumstances are among the eligibility criteria to be selected for Special Forces units."

"Special Forces units operate in 90 locations around the country," he said. "They are equipped with leadership skills and are familiar with key tactics. They receive training and also conduct special operations."

The Commando Corps receive good benefits and they are well equipped, enhancing the appeal for new recruits, according to Ahmadi.

"Young people have a higher interest in joining this force," he said. "In the past year alone, 6,000 commandos received a professional education at the Camp Commando School of Excellence in the capital [Kabul] and professional commando training centres in the provinces."

Top-notch training

Last week, 74 Special Forces officers, including six women, completed military training in eastern Kabul.

"These forces with special training are armed with modern weapons and trained for special operations," Ahmadi said.

"Since 2014, women have been involved in conducting special night and day raids alongside other Special Forces units," he said.

The ANDSF have received training on new military tactics and international standards, said Fawad Aman, a deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Defence.

"They have learned the most recent military and combat tactics and skills and are now able to conduct ground offensives 100% by themselves and launch air strikes 80% independently," he said.

"The ANDSF are in a better situation in terms of capability, expertise and equipment, and their capabilities increase by the day," he said.

"Educating and supplying the ANDSF with necessary equipment have been a priority since their creation, and now our country has forces that are trained up to the standards of international forces," said Gen. (ret). Abdul Hadi Khalid, a former deputy interior minister and a military affairs analyst.

"The Special Forces units have received foundational military education," he said. "They have been taught about human values, ethics and international conventions."

"As Afghan forces are the children of this land and were born and have grown up in war, they fight the terrorists with [great] spirit," he said.

Capable and in demand

"The ANDSF have reached a level of training and preparedness that has encouraged other countries in the region to send their forces to Afghanistan for military training," said Ahmadi, the ANA Commando commander.

"Last year, during my presentation at CENTCOM, representatives of Central Asian countries asked me whether they could send their officers to Afghanistan to get training at the Camp Commando School of Excellence," he said. "The interest of neighbouring countries in sending their forces to Afghanistan for training is another example of the higher capability and capacity of the Afghan security forces."

"The ANDSF, and especially the ANA Commando Corps forces, are in better shape when compared with the enemy, and they have full confidence that they can destroy them," Ahmadi said.

"We support peace, but in the meantime, we have our full preparations in place to defend Afghanistan," he said. "Public trust in our forces has strengthened their morale."

ANA Commando Corps forces are armed with modern weapons and have sufficient experience and capability to fight against any terrorist and militant group, including the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) and the Taliban, Ahmadi said.

"ANA Commando Corps forces ... have conducted 1,600 special operations during the previous year alone in which 150 key figures from the enemy, commanders of [the Taliban's] Red Unit, mine planting groups and front-line commanders who led the war were killed," he said.

"Another example of our forces' capability is that we launched 18 special operations last year to liberate prisoners from the enemy's jails," Ahmadi said, adding the operations led to the release of more than 500 civilians and security personnel.

Beating back ISIS, Taliban militants

"The ANDSF, especially commandos and Special Forces units, have a world-class education, and as they have received education in a combat environment, their combat experience is better than that of the coalition forces," said Gen. (ret.) Dawlat Waziri, a military affairs analyst in Kabul.

"The security and defence forces in general have suitable capabilities, but Special Forces units are better qualified," he said. "In recent years, these forces annihilated 6,000 to 7,000 ISIS fighters, including their leaders, and destroyed their stronghold in Nangarhar, and they did not allow the Taliban to gain control of a single province."

NDS forces in co-operation with Police Special Forces Unit 222 captured Zia-ul-Haq (also known as Abu Omar al-Khorasani), the leader of ISIS for South and East Asia, along with Saheeb, his spokesman, and Abu Ali, his intelligence chief, the NDS announced May 11.

"They were also able to capture Abdullah Orakzai, aka Aslam Farooqi, leader of ISIS's Khorasan branch [ISIS-K], along with other prominent ISIS figures, and kill dozens of key Taliban fighters," said Waziri.

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I want to express my opinion in one sentence. It is a pity that all the youths in this incompetent government, are killed by the coward mercenaries of United States and ISI of Pakistan shabbily.

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The National Army, commando [forces] and the special forces are active enough in their activities, and the policemen who work outside of the capital Kabul and provincial centers are also good; however, most of the policemen who work in Kabul city and in the provincial centers are either thieves or fellows of thieves. They are involved in most of the robbery, looting and kidnapping. The cities' police are to be sent to the rural areas in turn so that they can understand how difficult life the rural police have.

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National security and defense forces are the guardians and lions of this country. We are proud of them.

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Greetings and regards to all our brave and courageous security personnel, especially the national army of our beloved country. May God keep you all safe from any calamity, especially from the grasp of your shamefaced and coward enemies and may God give you good health. I wish our brave and faithful army men are not brutally surrendered to the enemy. I wish there were a government which did not play with the blood of these brave soldiers. I ask instruction and guidance from God to the two leaders of our country.

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Do these Afghan National Army personnel belong to the Death Unit which has recently been formed in the Ministry of National Defense of Afghanistan?

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The National Army's special forces are the real keepers of this country. They can fight against the enemy and beat the enemy. The government should give good attention to educate the national army so that we can have a professional and strong army. Long live Afghan National Army. Long live Afghanistan.

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Long live the military forces of my beloved country Afghanistan.

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We are proud of our brave forces. Long live Islam; long live our beloved country, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Down with the traitors.

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We are optimistic about the future of our country if peace is made with Taliban, but if peace is not made with this group, the future of the country seems ambiguous because Taliban are a strong military group which rule over half of Afghanistan’s territory, and America and NATO countries fought against Taliban for 20 years, but they couldn’t win the war against Taliban. In addition to internal support, Taliban now have external support of the countries, such as Russia, China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and other countries; therefore, it is impossible to rule and secure this country without Taliban. If war continues for another 20 years against Taliban, still they cannot defeat the group. We strongly urge Dr. Abdullah, chairman of the High Council of National Reconciliation, to prioritize peace in the country over everything else and ensure peace in this country. He has full authority to talk with Taliban and make peace with them.

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Commando forces and special forces of the Afghan National Army are in fact professional and trained forces. If we had fifty thousands of these forces, then we would have had better security now, because majority of the national army forces are unprofessional. The special forces of the Afghan National Army are educated and have high morale. In most battles, they have had tangible achievements compared to other national army forces. The government should pay more attention in strengthening these forces so that we have a professional force at the regional level, which can defend our territory and the national honor of the country.

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