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MPs want Afghan forces equipped

MPs want Afghan forces equipped

Aug 03, 2011 - 18:46

KABULinfo-icon(PANinfo-icon): Some parliamentarians on Wednesday called equipping the Afghan forces as the only way to ensure security in the country, but others linked the insecurity to foreign interference.

The first phase of the transition process that started from Bamyan July 17 has been completed in Panjsher, Kabul, excluding Sarobi district, Mehtarlam, Lashkargah, Herat city and Mazar-i-Sharif. The process is expected to be complete across the country by 2014.

The head of Transition Coordination Commission, Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, says the first phase of the transition had been completed and the second, third and fourth phase had begun in coordination with foreign troops.

Ghani told a meeting of the National Security Council, chaired by President Hamid Karzai at the presidential palace, that more provinces to be included in the process would be identified in a new policy, which would be worked out in the next three months.

The transition was underway along with training and providing equipment to Afghan forces, he added.

But some Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon members say if the Afghan forces were not equipped well, Afghanistaninfo-icon could sink into chaos once again.

Hajji Allah Gul Mujahid, an MP from Kabul, said: “The history shows that no outsider can rebuild our country until we do it by ourselves.”

He requested the international community to arm the Afghan Security Force if they wanted the security transition process to be a success. Otherwise, he warned, the civil war could start once again.  The civil war in Kabul had left thousands of people killed, he recalled.

Almas Zahid, an MP from central Parwan province, also echoed the same concern. "There may be a civil war after the withdrawal of foreign forces, if a strong government is not established,” he said.

Meanwhile, Daud Kalakani, another MP from Kabul, said equipping the Afghan forces would cost the international community less than it spends on foreign forces in Afghanistan. One day expenses of a foreign solider in Afghanistan is equal to the expenses of 60 Afghan soldiers.

"The leadership of security forces should try to build the capacity of the forces so that they are able to provide security in the absence of their international partners," he said.

Engineer Kamal, an MP from northern Kunduz province, also believes that if the Afghan forces were not equipped well, they would not be able to ensure security.

"If the international community’s support for Afghan forces continues the way it has been sinc e past ten years, the Afghan forces will become strong enough," he said.

But some other MPs say the security situation could not be improved until the interfence of neighbouring countries in Afghanistan was not stopped.

Habibullah Andiwal, an MP from southern Zabul province, said that Afghan forces could not maintain security until militants sneaking into Afghanistan from neighbouring countries were not blocked.

"Centres where the Talibaninfo-icon are being trained and equipped exist on the other side of the Afghan border. Therefore, these centres should be destroyed. Afghanistan can't guard its long borders with neighbouring countries to block the entry of insurgents," he said.

However, Ramazan Bashardost, a former presidential candidate, and lawmaker from central Kabul province said that officials in the government had always been working for their own interests.

"Afghan officials have never discussed any national interest issue with foreigners, instead they talk about their own benefits," Bashardost said.

"Whatever happens after the withdrawal of foreign soldiers should be blamed on America. Because the country did not come to Afghanistan for the war on terror, but for its own benefits," he said.

The strength of Afghan soldiers has increased from their previous numbers of less than 100,000 to more than 170,000. The soldiers have been provided with weapons used by the international soldiers, according to the defence ministry spokesman, Gen. Zahir Azimi.

Currently, the Afghan soldiers deal with internal security problems, but they would need more equipment to protect borders after the withdrawal of foreign troops, he said.

Azimi asked the international community to provide his ministry with heavy weapons, air force, armoured vehicles and other sophisticated items.

At a NATOinfo-icon summit in November, 2010, in Lisbon, participants set a deadline for a halt to combat operations in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The summit agreed on an exit strategy to pull out a vast majority of the 138,000 international troops from Afghanistan.


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