SIGAR expresses concern about ANSF capability
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Expressing concern about the capability of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), the accuracy of its personnel numbers, and its long-term sustainability, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), John F. Sopko, on Wednesday said he is encouraged by the current US military leadership’s approach to reconstruction and oversight in Afghanistan.
“Optimistic assessments of Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) progress often tell only part of the story and downplay long-standing problems such as high attrition rates, questionable capability reporting, and unverified personnel counts,” Sopko said in his address to the Center for Strategic and International Studies – a top American think-tank.
Providing a review of the over 13 years and $ 62.5 billion in US-led efforts to build capable and sustainable ANDSF, Sopko said the evidence suggests that Afghanistan lacks the capacity—financial, technical, managerial, or otherwise—to maintain, support, and execute much of what has been built or established during more than 13 years of international assistance.
“With a reducing US presence, $ 7.6 billion remains in the financial pipeline—appropriated but not yet spent—to support Afghan security institutions, with billions more expected to be appropriated every year for the foreseeable future,” he said.
Sopko said under even the most optimistic scenarios, Afghan government contributions would not fully fund the ANDSF by 2024.
Since 2005, the system used to assess the ANDSF has changed four times and after 10 years of reporting, it is troubling that the current rating system found that the Afghan Army has not yet achieved the highest rating level of “sustaining” in any category assessed even though during prior reporting periods ANDSF units were rated as “independent,” he rued.
Sopko said he is worried that the Afghan ministries aren’t, in any way, ready to stand on their own. Senior U.S. military leaders told SIGAR that the Afghans will not master any of their essential functions by the time the U.S. shrinks its military presence at the end of 2016, he noted.
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