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NATO commander lacks absolute authority on how Afghan forces trained

NATO commander lacks absolute authority on how Afghan forces trained

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Jun 20, 2019 - 22:14

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Despite the US appropriating $83.3 billion in security-related funds, there is not one person, agency, country, or military service that has had sole responsibility for overseeing security sector assistance in Afghanistaninfo-icon, SIGAR said in its sixth lessons learned report on Thursday.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstructioninfo-icon (SIGAR) released its sixth lessons learned report "Divided Responsibility: Lessons from US Security Sector Assistance Efforts in Afghanistan", on Thursday.

The report examines the patchwork of security sector assistance programs undertaken by dozens of US entities and international partners to develop the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), Ministry of Defense (MOD), and Ministry of Interior (MOI) since 2001.
Key points

--Despite the US appropriating $83.3 billion in US security-related funds, there is not one person, agency, country, or military service that has had sole responsibility for overseeing security sector assistance in Afghanistan

-- The security sector assistance mission in Afghanistan lacked an enduring and comprehensive plan to guide its efforts. Critical aspects of the advisory mission were not unified by a common purpose, nor was there a clear plan to guide equipping decisions over time. A former CSTC-A commander described the ANDSF as a "collection of compromises," and compared looking at the ANDSF to "a cross section of sedimentary rock [with] each year's U.S. budget priorities and 'good ideas' layered across older ones."
-- The dual-hatted US-NATOinfo-icon commander did not have absolute authority over how the ANDSF was trained and advised in different parts of Afghanistan. This created asymmetries in ANDSF development and impeded the standardization of security sector assistance programs. 

-- Security sector assistance efforts in Afghanistan have been hindered by the lack of clear command-and-control relationships between the U.S. military and the U.S. Embassy, as well as between ministerial and tactical advising efforts. This has resulted in disjointed efforts to develop ANDSF capabilities. 

-- The United States has not adequately involved the Afghans in key decisions and processes. As a result, the United States has implemented systems that the Afghans will not be able to maintain without U.S. support. As one former CSTC-A commander told us: "The Afghans were informed and directed, not asked or consulted..."
-- Most predeployment training did not adequately prepare advisors for their work in Afghanistan. Training did not expose advisors to Afghan systems, processes, weapons, culture, doctrine, and history.
-- NATO nations provided unique capabilities that the U.S. government used to fill voids in U.S. security sector assistance programs. However, problems with coordinating command-and-control hindered the United States' ability to make the most of coalition support.
-- The ANDSF were unable to fully leverage the benefits of US-based training efforts due to high AWOL rates, repurposing trained personnel to unrelated tasks once deployed back into Afghanistan, and ANDSF policies that conflicted with U.S.-based training program deadlines. Because of these issues, the United States plans to stop all U.S.-based aviation training for the Afghan Air Force by December 31, 2020.

-- U.S.-based training of Afghan pilots and maintainers is routinely considered successful and a best practice. A DOD official stated that US-based training for the Afghans is "head and shoulders above aviation training in Afghanistan."

 

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