Split up the Afghan green force into two distinct forces –
a national Afghan army which Afghans pay for and is commanded by the Afghan president and whichever general he/she wants to appoint. (“dark green”)
a NATO-ISAF auxiliary force of Afghans and others, funded by the US and other NATO countries and international donors. This would be commanded by our generals. (“light green”)
The Afghan National Army, the “green” force is rotten, if not to its core then to much of the periphery. Some of the green is more like gangrene (gan-green, get it! )
The problem I see is in the disconnect between the political control (Karzai) and the funding (mostly from the USA but anyway internationally funded).
Wikipedia: Afghan National Army
The new Afghan National Army was founded with the issue of a decree by President Hamid Karzai on December 1, 2002
Karzai as the “duly” (ahem) elected president of Afghanistan is perfectly entitled to run an Afghan national army but Afghans should pay for that themselves.
Afghanistan is a poor nation and could not afford that much of an army but if they paid for it themselves, at least the Afghan national army would likely be honest, accountable to Afghans and take on limited tasks – secure the presidential palace, military headquarters and might be up to defending the capital Kabul and surrounding land, maybe.
Now the issue is this – to secure all of Afghanistan, even to secure our supply routes, we need lots of troops and it makes sense to have some kind of Afghan force to help us – but we need a bigger and better green force than the Afghans can afford to pay for. (Also why would a national Afghan force want to prioritise defending our supply routes? They wouldn’t want to.)
So the West, NATO needs to pay for some green Afghan forces – that’s a good idea, if, if, if, if and only if, those green forces we are paying for are auxiliary to NATO-ISAF – run by NATO-ISAF – under the control of a NATO general, maybe an American general if you could find a good one to do it.
That way we would only recruit capable Afghans into the green force we pay for and interact with daily. We’d be sure our green troops were loyal – wouldn’t shoot our blue troops.
No way would we have any incentive to spend our own money on disloyal incapable Afghans in green uniform so we would not do it, if we had political and military control over our green forces, which we would have if they were called “The NATO-ISAF Afghan auxiliary force” – with no pretence of them being an Afghan national force under Karzai.
However, some idiot has come up with the idea of paying Afghans to have an army funded by us but controlled by Karzai so there is no accountability. The people in charge, deciding who to recruit, can recruit bad soldiers because they get paid more by the US for soldiers, whether they be bad soldiers or not.
Why wouldn’t Karzai and this guy
Lt. Gen. Sher Mohammad Karim, Commander of the Afghan National Army
recruit junkies, thieves, murderers and agents for the Taliban into the Afghan National Army?
Why wouldn’t they recruit anybody they can find into the Afghan national army if, for every soldier they can name, they get paid more US dollars?
Where’s the incentive for Karzai and Karim to recruit only good soldiers? There isn’t any incentive at all.
Again the US ends up funding corruption.
If a green soldier kills a blue then who gets held responsible in the chain of command?
Nobody gets held responsible.
Who should get held responsible? The US and NATO should. We should blame ourselves for paying anything for an army which we do not have any political control over.
What on earth does Panetta (and what did Gates before him) think he is (was) doing trusting this guy Karzai and his general Karim with billions of US tax-payer dollars to pay for a green army?
Why are NATO defence ministers happy with the poor leadership from NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Admiral James Stavridis? Shouldn’t the NATO leaders have spotted this fatal flaw in green troop organisation and tried to re-organise green forces as I suggest here, if they know what they are doing (which they don’t)?
The competent answer to green on blue attacks is to split up the Afghan army into two distinct forces –
- a national Afghan army which Afghans pay for and is commanded by the Afghan president and whichever general he/she wants to appoint. (dark green)
- a NATO-ISAF auxiliary force of Afghans and others, funded by the US and other NATO countries and international donors. This would be commanded by our generals. (light green)
So there should be two green armies – each of a different shade of green. Karzai’s dark green he would use to defend himself and his capital. Our light green we would use to defend our supply routes and to support our operations in Afghanistan generally.
Only when the Afghan economy had grown to the point that they could afford to pay for a big enough army to defend the whole country would we transfer our light green army over to Afghan national control and then we could leave Afghanistan in the hands of Afghans.
So long as we are paying for an Afghan force we must retain political control over it otherwise it fuels corruption and does little or nothing to help to fight the enemy we are trying to defeat and the green-on-blue attacks simply undermine political support for the whole Afghanistan / Pakistan mission.
Read more in the AfPak Mission forum
It’s never too late to learn lessons and adopt an alternative competent and aggressive military strategy and to that end, I have published a detailed improved AfPak military strategy in posts in the AfPak Mission Forum.
Click on these links below to read the topics with those subject titles. To proceed it may help you to know that the answer to the gate-keeper question in the For Freedom Forums is “Braveheart”.