KABUL -- US forces recently supplied Afghan troops with additional armoured vehicles, millions of rounds of ammunition and other combat equipment to enhance Afghanistan's security, according to the Ministry of Defence, as violent attacks flare in the country.
The latest assistance, which was delivered on November 5 in Kabul, includes 450 Humvees, 80 million rounds of ammunition, 1,600 night-vision binoculars and other weapons and equipment, the ministry said.
The supplies were "provided as part of US and NATO assistance and their commitment to the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF)," Shah Mahmood Miakhil, first deputy defence minister, said November 6.
"The United States and NATO have been supporting and assisting the ANDSF for several years and have played an important role in training, funding and equipping our forces," Miakhil said.
"The Afghan government welcomes this continued assistance and commitments from the international community and is grateful for it," he said.
"The United States has developed great capacity within the ANDSF," he added. "Our security forces are self-reliant and are planning and carrying out 96% of operations on their own."
"The ANDSF are becoming stronger day by day. US support for training and equipping Afghan forces has a positive effect on the morale of the forces, which I would like to thank them for," Miakhil said.
"The US donated 1,383 HUMVEEs and 55 Mobile Strike Force vehicles, 10 helicopters and 4 A-29 aircraft to #ANDSF this year," the Defence Ministry said in a Twitter post November 5. "They also donated hundreds of night vision goggles, uniforms, equipment, medical supplies, facilities & ammunition."
The recent US and NATO assistance to the ANDSF demonstrates the continued support of the international community for Afghanistan and will further enhance the capabilities of the Afghan forces, said authorities and military analysts.
"The recent assistance made to the ANDSF is part of the commitments that the international community, especially the US, have made to Afghanistan through 2024," said Gen. (ret.) Abdul Basir Salangi, the former governor of Farah Province and a military analyst.
"This assistance reflects the continued support of the international community to the Afghan government, especially to the security forces," said Salangi. "This will help ANDSF gain further strength, and security will improve too."
"This assistance and its continuation will enable the ANDSF to better fight the enemies of Afghanistan," he added.
The assistance comes as violent activities in Afghanistan are surging.
Violent attacks on Afghan forces and civilians climbed by 50% in the three months to the end of September even as the government and the Taliban launched unprecedented peace talks that month, a US watchdog warned on November 5.
Despite brief lulls during two temporary ceasefires over the summer, fighting has raged across the country as the Taliban launched devastating attacks on provincial capitals and security installations, feeding fears that the violence may jeopardise negotiations.
"Through this assistance, the international community, especially the US, showed their friendship and long-term commitment to the government and people of Afghanistan," said Mohammad Asif Sediqi, a member of the Meshrano Jirga.
"Besides thanking them, the Meshrano Jirga welcomes the continuation of their assistance and asks for continued military and civilian assistance."
"These Humvees and other arms and equipment are provided in a time when the conflict has escalated. This assistance, besides boosting the morale of the security forces, will enhance their capabilities too," Sediqi said.
"By providing this assistance, the international community showed to the enemies of Afghanistan that it will support and assist the Afghan government and forces under any circumstances," he added.
Boosting troop morale
"The assistance in arms and hundreds of Humvees is part of commitments that the international community has made to the government of Afghanistan and means that it is fulfilling its commitment, said Maj. Gen. (ret.) Zahir Azimi, a former military officer.
"This assistance comes exactly at a time when the fighting has escalated and when the ANDSF need Humvees, armored vehicles, arms, and ammunition," Azimi said. "It will enhance the capabilities of the ANDSF and will help them have an upper hand against their enemies on the battlefield."
"From a military and political point of view, this assistance is a positive and constructive step in this situation. It will boost the morale of security forces, giving them the confidence that they have the support of the international community," Azimi said.
The support demonstrates a firm commitment to ensuring Afghanistan's security said Ilyas Wahdat, former governor of Paktika Province and a political analyst.
"This assistance indicates continued support of the international community for Afghanistan. It also shows that the international community, especially the United States, will remain beside the government and the people of Afghanistan."
"When the United States signed the peace agreement with the Taliban [in February], Afghans thought that going forward, the United States and the international community might not continue to support and assist Afghanistan and Afghans, but the provision of hundreds of Humvees and millions of weapons and equipment addressed these concerns, giving the public new hopes of continued support by the international community," Wahdat added.
"This assistance is very important in these circumstances since much of the security forces' equipment has been damaged in the conflict and the ANDSF are in dire need of such vehicles and equipment," he said.