Afghan National Army: Improved but Still in Need of Massive Support

Borta Górka-Winter
Content Type
Policy Brief
The Polish Institute of International Affairs
After more than a decade of international military assistance in Afghanistan, the newly created Afghan National Security Forces are still facing several daunting challenges, including the need to stabilise a still volatile security situation and sustain a sufficient level of manpower. The latter, in particular, may prove to be extremely difficult, as statistics show that the ranks of the Afghan National Army (ANA) are shrinking dramatically. On the one hand, many independent assessments show that the ANA has reached a high level of maturity and efficiency in combating the insurgency (as demonstrated by the ANA recently when parliament was attacked by the Taliban). Moreover, the armed forces also receive a level of social support unprecedented in the modern history of Afghanistan. On the other hand, the unstable political situation, a potential loss of financial support from donors, and the re-emergence of militias that, under the command of warlords, act as parallel security forces in Afghanistan, may result in the progressive disintegration of the ANA, depriving it of the strong mandate given to it by the Afghan population.