ANSF meets targets
In January 2010, the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board, the formal decision-making body for Afghan and
international coordination, endorsed an increase of the Afghan National Army (ANA) growth target to 134,000 by
October 2010 and 171,600 by October 2011; and for the Afghan National Police (ANP) to 109,000 by October
2010 and 134,000 by October 2011. The current approved end-strength for the Afghan National Security Forces
(ANSF) is 305,600 forces by the end of October 2011.
In 2010, the ANSF grew by 79,000 to a total of 270,000. The ANA increased to 152,000 forces in February 2011,
while the ANP currently stands at 118,000 forces. In Regional Command-Capital, since 28 August 2008, the ANSF
gradually took over the lead responsibility for security in Kabul province. The Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) and
Ministry of Interior
The primary branches of the ANP include:
• The Afghan Uniformed Police (AUP) is assigned to Police Districts and Provincial and Regional Commands. It
also includes Traffic Police and a United Nations Protective Force.
• The Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP) is a specialised police force, split into rural and urban units,
trained and equipped to counter civil unrest. Urban units maintain civil order in cities and towns, while rural
units provide a police presence in high threat remote areas and establish a fair level of security.
• The Afghan Border Police (ABP) provides the MoI with a general law enforcement capability at international
borders, entry points, and in the Border Security Zone, which extends 50 km into Afghan territory. The ABP
deters and detects illegal entry and other criminal activity. In addition, the ABP controls pedestrian and vehicular
traffic at border crossing points and is responsible for airport security.
• The Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA) is the lead law enforcement agency charged with reducing
narcotics production and distribution in Afghanistan. It fulfils this task through a multifaceted approach to
counter-narcotics operations, incorporating intelligence, interdiction, eradication efforts, and public information.
• President Karzai established the Afghan Local Police (ALP) in August 2010. This MoI-led interim program
is foreseen to last two-five years to compensate for shortfalls in ANSF. It is established in selected areas upon
request by the local populace and following validation by the Afghan Government, in conjunction with ISAF. It
provides for small, community-based self-defence units under the MoI’s chain of command, as represented by
the District Chief of Police. The units are representative of, and accountable to, the community. This programme
stands as a bridge solution until adequate numbers of ANSF are trained to provide security for the entire
country. Currently, there are 14 operational ALP sites with 2,800 recruits.
One year ago, one of the most pressing issues facing the ANP was that the majority of AUP were recruited and assigned
to duty without formal training. This was primarily due to operational needs, but had the unintended consequence of
negatively impacting the Afghan population’s perception of the AUP as corrupt and inept. Consequently, the MoI and
NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A) implemented a new model, which makes training mandatory for all
Afghan National Police
Afghan National Police being trained by
Czech Military Police
Ministry of Defence
The ANA is comprised of six Corps Headquarters and a Capital
Division. All but one of these are assessed as capable of executing
operations and providing regional security with varied partnered unit
assistance. Thirteen of the twenty brigades throughout the country are
also assessed at this level.
To date, the ANA has been, by necessity, an infantry-centric force.
NTM-A has begun to focus on the development of enabling
capabilities – such as military police, intelligence, route clearance,
combat support and logistics – needed to provide the ANA fighting
elements with the necessary underpinning support. The Afghan
Defence University, Branch Schools – of which 11 out of 12 are
already functioning – and training facilities are cornerstones of ANA
Considerable efforts have also been invested in building an inclusive
army that provides a cadre of women soldiers and reflects the overall
ethnic make-up of the country. Currently there are 301 women in the
ANA, of which 166 are officers. While the ANA ethnic composition
is largely balanced, the MoD has developed a special recruitment
drive to increase the level southern Pashtun participation. This has
been on a constant rise, representing up to 3.6% of ANA new recruits
in January 2011.
The Afghan Air Force (AAF) made significant progress towards
becoming a professional, operationally capable and sustainable force
by 2016. In 2010, the AAF acquired 10 new air frames to a total
of 52, and increased its manning from 2,800 airmen in November
2009 to more than 4,000 in January 2011. The current target for
the AAF is of 8,000 airmen and 129 fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft
by 2016. The AAF established an airborne medical evacuation
capability, providing specialized emergency medical care for remote
areas. During the major floods in Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan
last summer, the AAF flew 400 missions and transported over 188
tons of supplies. During the 2010 parliamentary elections, it recorded
225 flight hours and transported over 67,000 kgs supplies to remote
locations. It also rescued survivors of the Salang Pass avalanche,
supported search and recovery following an airliner crash, and
delivered generators and supplies to schools.
“Quantity is important,
Over the course of the past year, NTM-A has placed a greater
emphasis on quality. Three areas of qualitative improvement have
been: ANSF leader development, marksmanship, and literacy.
ANA Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs)
form the backbone of a professional military. Through leadership
development courses, NTM-A was able to accelerate the number
of trained NCOs from 1,950 in November 2009 to about 16,000
today, as well as to improve their level of training and education.
Improved ANSF marksmanship:
since November 2009, the level
of ANA weapon qualification rose from 35% to 95%.
in 2009, 86% of the new recruits were illiterate. A
mandatory literacy programme has since been developed for all
recruits throughout their training with 1,200 Afghan instructors
recruited. It is expected that by the end of 2011, 50% of the entire
ANSF will have a first grade level of literacy.
The NTM-A mission also supports the development of selfsustaining
institutions. The MoI opened the Afghan Border Police
School and is working to open a National Police Staff College, for
which EUPOL (European Police Mission in Afghanistan) provided
vital oversight and trainers. Additionally a National Police Training
Centre will open in Wardak and the ANP Academy will open in
Mazar-e-Sharif by November 2011.
Recruitment, Retention, and Attrition
There is a complex interaction between recruiting, retention and
attrition. This interaction affects ANSF efforts to meet quantitative
goals while maintaining adequate quality.
Recruitment is now following an 8-step vetting process. Upon signing
the enlistment contract agreement, the recruit must get two individuals
(village elder, Mullah, or other local government representative) to
sign and vouch for the recruit. These individuals are held responsible if
any discrepancy in the contract is found. The recruit’s paperwork and
government ID is reviewed and basic biometric information (retinal
Afghan National Army soldiers wait for a graduation ceremony to begin at the Joint Security
Academy Shorabak on Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province.
An Afghan National Army soldier greets a local man during Operation Moshtarak in Nad-e Ali
District, Helmand Province.
scan, fingerprints, height, age, and weight) is collected, added to the
recruit’s personnel file and accompanies the recruit to training. The
biometric data is then checked to see if the individual has any known
criminal or insurgent links. Approximately 6% of applicants are
screened out for either drug use or medical conditions.
Reducing attrition is essential for the long-term viability of the ANSF,
especially with respect to retaining quality personnel. If total strength
objectives are increased in the future, attrition must be reduced even
further. High attrition is not compatible with growth or sustainment.
Currently, for every ten ANA soldiers, NTM-A must train twenty-three
recruits in order to maintain total overall strength.
The MoI implemented significant pay reforms in December 2009
resulting in improved retention of ANP. Annual ANCOP attrition
was at an annual rate 52.9% in November 2009; based on current
trajectories, the annual rate was almost cut in half, to 24% in
November 2010. NTM-A and the MoI’s goal is to reduce attrition to
1.4% across the ANSF.
Training Continues in the Field
While the NTM-A Commander focuses on training the initial recruit
and building ANSF institutional training capability, development
of Afghan soldiers and policemen continues in the field. The ISAF
Joint Command (IJC) Commander is responsible for developing
fielded ANSF through Operational Mentoring and Liaison Teams
(OMLTs) and Police OMLTs (POMLTs). Maintaining the same chain
of command for manoeuvre and mentoring forces reduces overall risk
as ISAF forces can more effectively respond to emergency situations
involving mentoring teams and ANSF.
NATO’s Mentoring Teams
OMLTs and POMLTs are an important part of NATO-ISAF’s
contribution towards the development of the ANSF. Each POMLT
and OMLT is normally deployed with an Afghan unit for a minimum
of six months.
POMLTs coach, teach, mentor, and when necessary, support the
operational planning and employment of the ANP unit to which they are
partnered. POMLTs are composed of 15-20 personnel from one or several
countries. Nations contributing POMLTs, as of 4 March 2011, are:
• Canada: 2
• Croatia: 2
• Denmark: 1
• France: 5
• Germany (PMTs): 10
• Italy: 3
• Lithuania: 1
• Norway: 1
• Poland: 8
• Spain: 2
• Turkey: 1
1 Germany currently provides Police Mentoring Teams (PMTs), which cooperate with ISAF, but
for legal reasons are not under ISAF’s command.
• United Kingdom: 6
• United States(PMTs): 279
OMLTs provide a bridge from the collective training received at the
Kabul Military Training Centre to field training. OMLTs consist of
11-28 personnel (depending on the type and function of the ANA
unit with which it is partnered) from one or several countries. Nations
contributing OMLTs, as of 4 March 2011, are:
• Australia: 6
• Belgium: 1
• Bulgaria: 4
• Canada: 6
• Croatia: 3
• Czech Republic: 1
• Denmark: 1
• France: 7
• Germany: 5
• Greece: 1
• Hungary: 1
• Italy: 8
• Norway: 1
• Poland: 5
• Portugal: 2
• Romania: 4
• Slovenia: 1
• Spain: 5
• Sweden: 1
• Turkey: 5
• United Kingdom: 7
• United States: (ETTs
• Multinational: 5
Embedded partnering aims to meld two military forces into a
single cohesive team. Each element brings a different set of skills
and experience levels. ISAF forces provide doctrinal and technical
experience. Afghan forces provide cultural and local situational
awareness. Combining ANSF and international force capabilities
2 US Embedded Training Teams perform the same functions as OMLTs: providing ANA units
with comprehensive mentoring.
An Afghan National Army soldier along side US marines engage the enemy.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
0423-11 NATO Graphics & Printing
Public Diplomacy Division (PDD) – Press & Media Section Media Operations Section (MOC)
Tel.: +32(0)2 707 1010/1002
creates a synergy that develops ANSF capability and combats the
Embedded Partnering occurs at every echelon from the ministry to
unit. At the Regional Command level this means all operations that
are jointly planned and commanded by combined staff incorporate
Regional Police, Border Zone and ANCOP brigade headquarters. For
manoeuvre elements, ISAF and ANSF brigades and battalions integrate
staffs. In addition to conducting joint missions, mentor teams co-locate
with their assigned battalions. Police mentor teams embed with their
assigned ANP units 24/7.
This continuous planning, deciding, executing, and assessing operations
cycle enables a unified and combined force with Afghans in the lead.
ISAF soldiers and Afghan security forces share risks and responsibilities.
Embedded Partnering capitalizes on the combined team’s strengths.
At the April 2009 Strasbourg-Kehl Summit, NATO Heads of State and
Government decided to expand ISAF’s mission to oversee higher-level
training for the ANA, and training and mentoring for the ANP. To
meet this goal, NATO established NTM-A on 21 November 2009.
NTM-A draws together enhanced NATO and national efforts to
train ANA and ANP to increase coherence and effectiveness. It works
in close partnership with the Afghan MoD and MoI, as well as in
collaboration with EUPOL and the European Gendarmerie Force.
Afghan National Army soldiers, assisted
- Taliban Defeated in Kandahar Attacks (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- 2 SCOTS return from Afghanistan (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- Fighting the Taliban: Afghan Army’s Attrition Crisis (time.com)
- Fighting The Taliban: Afghan Army Faces Attrition Crisis (time.com)
- Fighting The Taliban: Afghan Army Faces Attrition Crisis (time.com)
- Poles Secure Ghazni for Afghanis (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- Marines Welcome New Afghan NCO’s (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- Afghan leader discusses future of Afghan security forces (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- Afghan Local Police vital to General Petraeus’ strategy (longwarjournal.org)
- the training of Afghan police is simply failing. (thecommunicatorwv.wordpress.com)