4 Training of the Afghan National
Security Forces |
109. A critical component for a successful handover
of security to the Afghan Government will be a well trained and
prepared Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). We recognise
that considerable progress has been made in training the ANSF
since the introduction of the NATO Training Mission in November
2009 following the adoption of the McChrystal Strategy. Much greater
resource has been put into training the ANSF with 1,300 more trainers
being provided by 32 countries. Another 17 nations are contributing
supplies and other assets.
Afghan National Army
110. The number of recruits to the Afghan National
Army (ANA) has increased. The ANA grew by 58 per cent from November
2009 to November 2010 to 137,000 but attrition rates [the proportion
of those recruits leaving the Forces] are still high though decreasing.
Retention levels of the ANA (that is those remaining in service)
have been over 60 per cent since November 2009 peaking at 86 per
cent in May 2010 and standing at 61 per cent in May 2011.
General Richards told us that the recruitment and training of
the ANA was going well, ahead of planned targets:
We are ensuring that the ANSF grows in the very
aggressive time frame that an outstanding American General, Bill
Caldwell, is leading on. [...] Bill has told me that the 31 March
target for the ANA was a total of 155,000. On 31 March, the total
was standing at 159,000, so it is ahead of its numbers [...]The
police target was 122,000, and the total stood at 125,000 at the
end of March. The targets for 31 October are 171,600 and 134,000
respectively, and [...] they are ahead of them.
111. The composition of the ANSF needs, as far as
possible, to reflect the composition of Afghan society. Southern
Pashtuns are still underrepresented in both the ANA and the police
although recruitment is targeted on increasing the number.
The number of female recruits to the ANA is very smallapproximately
30 a yearbut increasing.
112. On 5 July 2011, Prime Minister Cameron and President
Karzai announced the creation of the Afghan National Officer Academy.
The institution will be modelled on the UK army academy at Sandhurst
and will aim to produce high quality platoon leaders. It will
open its doors in 2013, and accept 1,350 recruits annually with
some 120 UK military personnel involved in the training.
113. In addition to training the ANA to be competent
fighting soldiers, the NATO Training Mission has started to train
the ANA for support operations such as logistics.
Brigadier Levey told us that the ANA was being trained in the
laws of conflict, religious and cultural affairs, looking after
civilians and the moral component. Leadership is an issue for
the training of the ANA especially at NCO level.
114. Literacy rates amongst recruits are still low
for both the ANA and the ANP at some 14 per cent. Training of
the ANSF has focused on improving the literacy of soldiers and
the police to a basic level to improve the quality of the personnel
and of their training.
115. The Helmand Annual Review 2010 lists challenges
in the ANA as "a lack of leadership across the chain of command,
poor literacy levels, slow construction of improved facilities,
difficulties resupplying and maintaining equipment, and limited
support capabilities, including aviation, intelligence, counter-IED
and medical facilities".
General Richards said that the jury was still out on whether it
was possible to institutionalise the necessary qualities in the
ANA to sustain it beyond 2014 but that General Caldwell and many
British officers were aggressively pursuing that aim.
Partnering with ISAF Forces is seen as a crucial element in preparing
the ANSF to take over responsibility for security.
116. There have been significant improvements
in the training of the ANA but there is much progress yet to be
made before the ANA is ready to take over responsibility for security
in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. We welcome General Richards'
assurance that the aim of a sustainable ANA is being aggressively
pursued but the MoD must maintain its focus on training the ANA,
in qualitative as well as quantitative terms.
Afghan National Police
117. There are five main pillars of the ANP:
- The Afghan Uniform Police provide
community policing, traffic policing and the fire service;
- The Afghan National Civil Order Police provides
civil order patrols, an anti-riot capability and a crisis or counter
terror response capability within urban areas;
- The Afghan Border Police facilitates freedom
of movement, encourages the development of commerce, prevents
illegal border crossings and polices airport points of entry;
- The Afghan Anti-Crime Police provide specialist
police expertise, counter terrorism, counternarcotics, Major Crime
Task Force (governance and anti-corruption) and forensics; and
- The Ministry of the Interior enablers such as
logistics, medical, training and education.
In addition, in July 2010, the Afghan Government
announced a new initiative agreed with General Petraeus to train
and recruit some 10,000 personnel as local, community police separate
from the ANP.
118. There has been increased training for many recruits
to the various branches of the Afghan National Police (ANP) but
attrition rates are still very high especially in the Civil Order
Police. The various
branches of the ANP stood at some 125,000 members in March 2011,
ahead of the target of 122,000.
119. The establishment of the Helmand Police Training
Centre in 2010 and the Joint Security Academy Shoarb in early
2010 in Helmand has aided the training of the ANP - 2,700 police
have attended the 8 week basic police training course. A training
course for NCOs was held in Helmand for the first time in 30 years
at the Helmand centre. 
There are some 1,000 women in the police force and the Minister
of the Interior has set a target of a total of 1,200 new women
recruits a year.
120. Lindy Cameron told us that she had seen an improvement
in the behaviour of the police in Helmand albeit from a very low
[...] we are not going to be over-optimistic
about this. We are starting from an extremely low base. Indeed,
when I went to Helmand a year ago, one of my biggest concerns
was actually the reputation of the police force at local level
in areas like Marjah where, for example, the historic corruption
of the police force was one of the reasons why that area turned
to the Taliban in the first place.
You are talking about a slow-building confidence,
but the fact is that people now see a police force that they have
confidence in. They have confidence that they have been drug tested.
They can have confidence that they have been trained in how to
hold their weapons and in how to man a guard post effectively.
There was a visible difference in the way that police behave.
You were talking about a police training centre both in Lashkar
Gah and the one in Camp Shurabak in a way that is slowly building
people's confidence. The reason why I am sure of that is, because
when you talk to people in Marjah about what they want, they no
longer say, "We want anybody but the local police force."
They say, "We want you to recruit and train police from our
area who understand us."
121. The Helmand Annual Review 2010 states that "the
lack of trained officers and poor literacy rates within the police
inhibit the police's transition from a paramilitary force into
a police service that supports law enforcement". It also
states "the legacy of abusive and corrupt police hinders
efforts to improve the population's perception of the police,
although a survey noted a rise in public confidence in the police
in the last quarter of 2010".
122. There is much progress yet to be made before
the ANP is sufficiently reliable to take on its share of the responsibility
for security by the end of 2014. The UK should continue to insist
that the international coalition maintain the momentum on training
the ANP and, in particular, on reducing the level of corruption
in the ANP.
Afghan National Security Forces
123. One of the crucial components of transferring
full responsibility for Afghanistan to the Afghan Government is
the transfer of security to the ANSF as a whole including the
ANA and the ANP. General Parker told us how important the relationship
between the ANSF and the Government would be:
The general loyalty of the Afghan National Security
Forces is something that we need to help. We need to nurture it.
The relationships that the Minister of Defence and the Minister
of the Interior have with President Karzai and with that close-in
group of people, the Cabinet, are something that we must not undermine.
In my job, I was very conscious that one needed to sustain the
confidence of the President and the Cabinet in his armed forces
so that they felt that they were doing what was right for the
country. We need to continue to do more to that so that the Security
Forces have the confidence of the higher level of Government.
124. General Parker also stressed the need to build
capacity in the ANSF as well as its size and that the capabilities
of the ANSF were still thin:
[...] The high-level point is that we have grownwe
have done "growth"; what we have not done is "capacity".
Are we doing sufficient to build capacity inside that growth?
Yes, we are starting to, but we are doing it in phases. We have
a lot of what they call attrition. Now we are starting to build
better offices, better schools, and better cycles, so that people
come off the front line. All those things are being built and
they will take time. You can build the number to 137,000 in the
year, but have you got the capabilities? No, that is thin and
we need to continue to build that.
125. We recognise that much hard work has gone
into the training and partnering with the ANSF, in particular,
in enabling the physical and conceptual components of fighting
power but we remain concerned that the training and development
of what the British Army calls the moral componentleadership,
discipline, culture, ethics and anti-corruptionis crucial
to ensure the long term professional capability of the ANSF.
126. General William Caldwell, Commander of the NATO
Training Mission believes that they will reach the target for
the ANSF of 305,000 personnel and that the ANSF will be ready
to take the lead for security by the end of 2014. The success
of the transfer of responsibility for security in the first seven
areas will highlight outstanding issues and problems.
We deal with transition arrangements in more detail in Part 6.
We are of the opinion that the ANSF will require significant
support after the transition. We await with interest the assessment
of the success of the transition of the first seven areas, in
particular that of Lashkar Gah.
123 Ev 202 Back
Q 695 Back
Qq 238, 695 Back
Q 247 Back
Prime Minister's statement on Afghanistan 5 July 2011, www.Number10.gov.uk Back
Q 245 Back
Qq 242-243 Back
Qq 154, 158, 245 Back
Helmand Annual Review 2010, www.mod.uk/aboutdefence/corporatepublications Back
Q 694 Back
Ev 203 Back
Ev 202 Back
Q 694 Back
Q 158 Back
Ev 202 Back
Q 157 Back
Helmand Annual Review 2010, www.mod.uk/aboutdefence/corporatepublications Back
Q 242 Back
Q 244 Back
Speech by Lieutenant General William B Caldwell, Commander, NATO
Training Mission-Afghanistan, at Chatham House on 12 April 2011,