Afghanistan: An Individual Soldiers' Perspective Part 2-The Afghan National Army

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posted on Mar, 15 2014 @ 06:40 AM
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This is my follow up to my original thread Afghanistan: An Individual Soldiers' Perspective-Part 1. That thread focused on my opinion of the Taliban. Like the other thread I welcome your political view points, your attacks on me as a soldier, and anything else you wish to say on the matter of Afghanistan. But please keep it respectful.

This thread will focus on the Afghan National Army, heretofore referred to as the ANA.

The ANA:

Built in the aftermath of the US led invasion, the Afghan National Army is a conglomeration of the several tribes that make up Afghanistan. Plagued by political corruption, tribal infighting, and insurgent infiltration, they have had a long, hard road thus far, and the road ahead is harder still.

Everyday these soldiers wake up in the morning, pray to Allah, and put on the uniform of Afghanistan to fight the resurgence of the Taliban and the foreign insurgents who help them. They do not have the assets we do. They know full well that when they go out and fight the Taliban that they may not be coming back. Their families are in danger. If they are wounded in action their golden hour is non-existent. So even if they suffer a survivable wound, they may not make it off the battlefield fast enough to stave off infection, or blood loss. They know this, and yet they still choose to take up the responsibility of protecting their nation from the slavery offered by the Taliban.

The relationship between NATO forces and the ANA has been both beneficial and tumultuous. They have received excellent training and have been equipped reasonably well for a startup army. But sometimes the lack of understanding of cultural differences by NATO personnel has led to what is referred to as Green on Blue attacks, as well as unanswered grievances and infiltration by insurgents. By and large our relationship with the ANA has been a good one. They have, for the most part, taken the leading role in the defense of Afghanistan over the last few years.

While our generals and diplomats raise concern over their readiness to go it alone entirely, I believe, from watching these very capable patriots work, that they are far more ready than we give them credit for. They are keenly aware of what is at stake. They know the dangers, they know the benefits. I remain cautiously optimistic that the ANA, with all of it's faults, can hold on to Afghanistan. They must, the choice to fail is simply not there.

I have a lot of respect for these soldiers. They are the real heroes of Afghanistan and should be hailed as such. The sacrifices they make on behalf of their people despite the hurdles they face is something no other professional army in the world can lay claim to, to include our own.

US led NATO forces have sacrificed a lot here in Afghanistan. Lord knows I have lost good friends out here and I will always remember them. To me, if the ANA can stand and fight on their own, much of that sacrifice will have been worth it. But at the end of the day, we're going home. Afghanistan is not our country and we do not face the same dangers that the brave soldiers of the ANA do. I pray for the ANA. I wish them good luck. And may Allah stand with them in the fight for their nation, for they are the real freedom fighters of Afghanistan.
edit on pSat, 15 Mar 2014 06:44:57 -0500201415America/Chicago2014-03-15T06:44:57-05:0031vx3 by projectvxn because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 15 2014 @ 06:53 AM
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reply to post by projectvxn
 


Very well written, Sir. The ANA I have met and passed on the road seem to be far better training and discipline then the ANP or God Forbid, the APPF. Man for man, they hold their own against AQ/Taliban...but still need our help in intel, supply and MEDEVAC.

Stay safe



posted on Mar, 15 2014 @ 07:12 AM
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reply to post by projectvxn
 


I believe I understand your position. Unfortunately, the history of Afghanistan is not conducive toward a good outcome for a modernization of society and culture in that place so many have tried to change and conquer with both bad and good intentions.
It may be one of those areas on earth that must be allowed its own dysfunctional struggles while the rest of the world assumes some semblance of modern views.

My view, as it was with Vietnam, Iraq, etc., is that it is not our job to save a country from itself at a great expense to our people and treasure. I understand in the largest sense that the plans of the New World Order mandate such efforts by the more modern and wealthier countries, but I don't have to like it.

In that regard, I appreciate your service.



posted on Mar, 15 2014 @ 07:20 AM
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reply to post by projectvxn
 


These have been enlightening threads, we always tend to only look at one side of a coin... Also, I am very sorry for your loses.

I do not agree with war on any level but Afghanistan has been a moral grey area at best, would it be worse if we left them to it? Are our reasons for being there good ones? I doubt we'll ever truly know for sure.

I pray for your safe and speedy return.

All the best my friend,

Greg



posted on Mar, 15 2014 @ 07:38 AM
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projectvxnEveryday these soldiers wake up in the morning, pray to Allah, and put on the uniform of Afghanistan to fight the resurgence of the Taliban and the foreign insurgents who help them.

How does the ANA or the foreign fighters in Afghanistan "fight the Taliban and insurgents"?

Do they roam around looking for people with guns, assume they're bad and kill them or is it reactionary?

For example, in the US, police will react to a crime. Even in crime infested neighborhoods where violence and murder is common, they generally dont roll in with tanks and pre-emptively engage people.

Well, they didnt used to.

With the rise of the militarized police state, who knows what our future holds.

Also, whos considered "Taliban" or an "insurgent"? Is it anyone who takes up arms against their government or the US occupation?

edit on 15-3-2014 by gladtobehere because: wording



posted on Mar, 15 2014 @ 07:56 AM
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reply to post by gladtobehere
 





How does the ANA or the foreign fighters in Afghanistan "fight the Taliban and insurgents"?

Do they roam around looking for people with guns, assume they're bad and kill them or is it reactionary?


It is largely an intelligence gathering operation. What is actionable is determined by that intelligence. Most of the time, when there is fighting, the insurgents come to them.




For example, in the US, police will react to a crime. Even in crime infested neighborhoods where violence and murder is common, they generally dont roll in with tanks and pre-emptively engage people


Police tactics and military tactics are not the same thing, nor should they be viewed in the same light.




Well, they didnt used to.

With the rise of the militarized police state, who knows what our future holds.


You do realize we're not talking about that right? That we are talking about a cohesive armed force(The Taliban and their foreign allies) fighting with the Afghan national army?

You realize this thread is not about the US police forces right?




Also, whos considered "Taliban" or an "insurgent"? Is it anyone who takes up arms against their government or the US occupation?


The Taliban self identifies, they even fly a flag. The foreign insurgent forces typically come through international borders, mainly through Pakistan, and are usually identified after they have attacked ANA, ANP, or NATO targets.



posted on Mar, 15 2014 @ 08:36 AM
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projectvxn It is largely an intelligence gathering operation. What is actionable is determined by that intelligence. Most of the time, when there is fighting, the insurgents come to them.

If theres fighting, arent the foreign occupiers (US, NATO) and the ANA already engaging the "Taliban" and "insurgents"?

So youre saying, more fighters from their side will join the existing fight?

What I'm trying to understand is what precipitates the fighting, is it the attacks on NATO, ANA and ANP targets (as you mentioned above)?


projectvxn You do realize we're not talking about that right? That we are talking about a cohesive armed force(The Taliban and their foreign allies) fighting with the Afghan national army?

You realize this thread is not about the US police forces right?

It was just my way of trying to understand the Afghanistan situation by relating it to something I am more familiar with (I didnt serve in the military).

Relating the military occupation of Afghanistan by the US and NATO to what would seem to be an ever increasing militarized presence here in the US.

Obviously, we're not being occupied by a foreign military.

edit on 15-3-2014 by gladtobehere because: wording



posted on Mar, 15 2014 @ 08:42 AM
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reply to post by projectvxn
 


Another well thought out post. Training a totally new force can be frustrating at times. But watching it come together can be rewarding as well. However, I don't hold much hope for Afghanistan coming together as a country. The Government is too corrupt, and as you pointed out, tribal loyalty's run very deep there. Time will tell.

Oops! OPSEC violation.
edit on 15-3-2014 by TDawgRex because: Because I'm a idiot.



posted on Mar, 15 2014 @ 08:44 AM
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reply to post by gladtobehere
 





If theres fighting, arent the foreign occupiers (US, NATO) and the ANA already engaging the "Taliban" and "insurgents"?


Not always. Our rules of engagement aren't the same as ANSF(Afghan National Security Forces) and ANA. What intelligence we provide that is actionable we act upon, or we coordinate with Afghan forces so that they can act upon it.

If we are attacked, obviously, we defend ourselves. Same with the ANA.




So youre saying, more fighters from their side will join the existing fight?


No, you misunderstand. What I am saying is that most of the time it is the Taliban and insurgent forces that initiate the attack on US/NATO and Afghan forces.




What I'm trying to understand is what precipitates the fighting, is it the attacks on NATO, ANA and ANP targets (as you mentioned above)?


Most of the time, yes.




I was trying to understand the Afghanistan situation by relating it to something I am more familiar with.


What is happening in Afghanistan has no counterpart in the US or any other western nation.




Comparing the military occupation of Afghanistan by the US and NATO to what would seem to be an ever increasing militarized presence here in the US.


There is no comparison at all.



posted on Mar, 15 2014 @ 08:46 AM
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reply to post by TDawgRex
 





It must be about time for your RIP/TOA.


If it were I wouldn't be able to talk about it.



posted on Mar, 15 2014 @ 12:21 PM
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Karzai is a drug lord.His brother was also.....
How the hell do you expect that the ANA will stand and fight for the opium business when the allies leave?
I suspect they apreciate the weapons and ammo from us, but I really don't believe these AMA soldiers are in it for much but the money and three squares a day.......
We leave, they go right back to tribal warfare and drug kingdoms......then the Taliban will defeat them once again....what a waste of good men all around......
Thank you for your service however misguided the brass may be in this fiasco......



posted on Mar, 15 2014 @ 03:54 PM
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I am glad to see that there are actually some people in that particular country who care and are willing to fight for it. Although I imagine loyalties are something that could potentially change in a place like that. I've mentioned before that one of my main interests is military strategy and history, and the more I think about conflicts in places such as Afghanistan, the more I realize the reality of war in general.

This may sound harsh, but I have come to think that a country should not go to war unless they are willing to wage "total" war. An army cannot beat an insurgency using standard tactics. It is one thing when the enemy is in uniform, and you can identify them. I cannot recall any conflict where an army fought an insurgency and came out victorious. The Soviets lost in Afghanistan, the US lost in Vietnam, cannot win in Afghanistan, etc...The only hope is to build the country up to the point where it can deal with insurgent threats on its own, but that is not "beating" the insurgency. There are too many potential fanatics in those types of countries, and you do not know who to trust.

So what I was saying about total war, which might be harsh, is that the "rules" of war need to go out the window in some instances. There are certain things that should not be done, but the only way to truly beat an insurgency is to UTTERLY DESTROY their will to wage war. And you can use your imaginations about what I am inferring here, but I say it again...Total war.



posted on Mar, 15 2014 @ 09:35 PM
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reply to post by projectvxn
 


I worked with the IA in Iraq. While it is easy to poke fun at them, I do not envy them their circumstances. It made me mad how the average Junde was treated and in then end, set up for failure.

The US military is built in a completely different universe. The try and recreate it in Iraq/Afghanistan/where ever is folly. It has to be built in their universe with their laws of physics. If so, it stands a chance.

I wish them well, I really do.



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 01:59 PM
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Your thread (and your last one) is quite interesting and is challenging my beliefs, which is always good.

The subject of the Afghan war can be divisive and can cause heated arguments and it can be so easy to forget the human aspect of conflict, whether they be a U.S. soldier or an Afghan civilian or an Afghan Taliban fighter.

Hopefully a time will come when the killing and suffering will end.



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 02:32 PM
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reply to post by Kram09
 





Your thread (and your last one) is quite interesting and is challenging my beliefs, which is always good.


How so? Please do elaborate.




The subject of the Afghan war can be divisive and can cause heated arguments and it can be so easy to forget the human aspect of conflict, whether they be a U.S. soldier or an Afghan civilian or an Afghan Taliban fighter.


Arguments is definitely not my goal here. I welcome different views on the situation in Afghanistan. My contribution is to present a view, directly from the ground, of what is happening here.




Hopefully a time will come when the killing and suffering will end.


Me too.

I am glad to report, that the entire time I have spent out here, not once have I had to engage anyone. And I hope to leave Afghanistan with that record intact.

Now, I have been shot at a lot. I have been on the receiving end of rocket barrages. I have lost friends out here. But I would rather go home with those experiences alone, than have to kill someone and add to the suffering.



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 02:55 PM
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reply to post by projectvxn
 





How so? Please do elaborate.


Well I've read some of your comments in the past and strongly disagreed with you and I think I was ready to disagree with you in this thread before I'd even read what you'd written. But it's good to get another perspective sometimes and to actually hear someone else's views without knee-jerk reactions.

I think sometimes I may make generalisations about ATS members who are in the military as arrogant and contemptuous which is unfair I think.



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 02:56 PM
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reply to post by projectvxn
 





Arguments is definitely not my goal here.


Oh yes I know that. I mean that sometimes these threads can degenerate into mud-slinging. It's good to just have a discussion with people.



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 02:58 PM
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reply to post by projectvxn
 





Now, I have been shot at a lot. I have been on the receiving end of rocket barrages. I have lost friends out here. But I would rather go home with those experiences alone, than have to kill someone and add to the suffering.



Well stay safe and hopefully you will return sooner rather than later.



posted on Jun, 4 2014 @ 02:29 PM
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OP you should tell that to the 142 NATO troops who have been killed or the 163 who have been wounded by them in green on blue attacks. Having worked as part of an operational mentorship and liaison team (OMLT) I can happily say that they can be a dangerous bunch to be working with. While they are often very brave, proud and dedicated, there are simply far too many of them who are unstable, habitual drug users, corrupt or just plain unprofessional.

If an incident happens anywhere in the country involving ISAF troops being accused of anything even slightly dodgy they are up in arms. It is not uncommon for them to hold their weapons to the heads of those training them (I know of at least one medic who has left the forces because of the PTSD caused by one such incident). In the OMLT we worked in small detached teams of maybe 6-8 guys embedded within ANA companies. Having a platoon of ANA going ape-s*** and threatening you because some prat in a different area touched a Koran or whatever is a pretty scary place to be in.

They would fall asleep on guard constantly.

They will play BARMA roulette (jumping in and out of pre-marked safe lanes in IED rich environments for dares – often finding themselves spread over large areas when they lose).

They will take drugs while on patrol making them unpredictable (it is estimated that approx 1 in 8 are habitual drug users with many more being casual users i.e. they use when they want but don’t feel addicted).

They will usually only commit the minimum of people to a given task. Indeed it was the norm for my OMLT to outnumber the ANA on many patrols, despite us being there on a predominantly teaching and supervisory capacity because the ANA wouldn’t commit more than 7 or 8 guys for a task when they should be providing 20 or 25.

They are constantly AWOL (15% of the unit I was last out with were posted AWOL at any given time). Bearing in mind that they aren’t even considered AWOL until they have been missing for more than a month, so the real figure is quite a bit higher.

Their fire discipline can be atrocious which often results in friendly fire or civilian casualties, or at least running out of ammunition at inopportune times. The concept of not firing into areas that haven't been positively cleared of friendly troops is lost on their commanders.

Your statement ref the golden hour isn’t exactly accurate either. They regularly refused to go on patrol if there is no guaranteed CASEVAC platform. The Afghans are in the process of development of such a system for themselves because they have become reliant on it as we have let them use our MERT for years.

I know the dangers of they and their families face while off duty – I was in the UDR/R IRISH Home Service Part Time for several years during the Troubles in N Ireland. I lived in a hard line (“red”) area which was actually out of bounds to regular troops unless armed and in a group. Most of our guys killed were murdered while off duty, so I understand the dangers these guys face daily. It’s part of policing your own people. You deal with it or you find another job.

Perhaps you were lucky in your AOR, or maybe I was unlucky in those I worked in. Perhaps I am biased because a guy I worked with in a previous role was killed in a green on blue attack a couple of years ago. I'm sure the majority of them are wonderful people but I just don’t trust them.



posted on Jun, 5 2014 @ 01:48 AM
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a reply to: PaddyInf


I addressed green on blue in the OP.





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