ANA Recruiting issues

Here you go Chuck, I just seen this.

There hasn’t been a single recruit in a month and a half. 

Update:  Wrong link.  Updated to correct link.

Recruits for the Afghan Public Protection Force are usually sent to Laghman to be trained by American Special Forces. “There hasn’t been a single recruit for more than a month and a half,” General Agha said. “More than a hundred people were rounded up and sent to the training centre, but the commander in charge told me they ran away. Iran opened the border [in the west] and they all thought it was better to go abroad.”


17 thoughts on “ANA Recruiting issues

  1. Where is the link to this article? I would be very careful about making too much of one anecdotal story.

    At the national level, ANSF recruitment hasn’t been a challenge.

  2. I would be very careful about marginalizing something contrary to your opinion. We have a whole country full of politicians that do that and thier constituents are wising up. I believe it is our obligation to keep an open mind on any issue. Especially one the current administration is pushing. Anan, I believe you have heard from two people now that actually have some ground truth on the ANA situation, yet you marginalized JB’s service as being outdated. You have yet to give us your groundtruth creds. Sorry JB, I’m a little touchy this week.

  3. The link is the second sentence.

    Hey, I have no problem with different ideas and opinions. As long as they are stated with civility let the comments flow.

    I believe there are mulitple answers to this problem but the issue that must be resolved is, what is the end goal. Until you have that there will be no consistant strategy. A utopian unrealistic dream isn’t an end goal.

    The fact is we has this one in the bag and let it slip away, now that’s behind us and I want to know what the mission is and the definition of victory. That is the responibility of this administration now.

    This administration campaigned as if they had the plan. It is now when decsion must be made that they must “deliberate”?

    I am not for bringing into the mix known agistators and terror supporters period so while that is an option it’s not one I will support.

    anyway I hope you all enjoy your weekend.

  4. JB, thanks for your service. I clicked on the link. I couldn’t find the cited quote in the link.

    Chuck, where did I diss JB? I asked him for a link that I could share with some friends.

    On recruitment:
    1) some district ANP have had recruitment challenges. However, overall the MoI has more applicants than open positions
    2) there is far more demand to join the army than the police. Many police officers are trying to bribe or sweet talk their way (through connections) into the ANA. The 2nd Lieutenant officer training slots are especially coveted. I asked an advisor whether the new 2nd Lieutenants were creating a more meritocratic and less connections based ANA leadership and promotion structure. His response was: “how do you think the 2nd Lieutenants managed to get the limited officer cadet academy slots?” He implied that the new cadets might be just as politically suave and connected as the current problematic mid grade officers.

    I think it is madness not to increase the number of officers and NCOs being trained at any given time.

    Only one class of 4 year academy 2nd Lietenants has graduated to date, in January of 2009. 84 2nd Lietenants were minted. Why? Because Rumsfeld and Cheney felt it wasn’t America’s responsibility to pay for, staff, and fund the ANA officer academies. They felt that “Afghans” and other countries/NATO should do it. Then they refused to let Russians, Iranians and Indians train the new ANA officers, despite offers from all of them to do so.

    Even worse was Rumsfeld’s insistence that the “Afghans” and other countries train and finance the ANP until his firing in November, 2006. Rumsfeld was publicly urging that the ANA end state size be cut from 80,000 to 55,000 or 50,000 in the fall of 2006.

    The ANSF generation effort didn’t really begin until November, 2006. In an effort to build 2nd Lietenants from scratch, McChrystal only trains a 2nd Lieutenant cadet for 20 weeks. Imagine that, 20 weeks. {Keep in mind that although afghans are motivated, in many cases they haven’t had the opportunity to attend much school.} I understand why President Obama doesn’t want to accept the Russian offer to train large numbers of officers; but if this is his position, then why isn’t he assigning more US officers for this task? {Typically an Afghan junior officer makes a fraction what they could make in the private sector; they join anyway because of love of country.}

  5. Link should be fixed. Must have been in a hurry.

    Issue with recruits is the fact that many show up and recieve equipment then never show up again. It’s been an ongoing problem for years. Doesn’t mean that it can’t work though.

    Don’t worry about “dissing” me, I have very thick and I didn’t feel anything. Feel free to input any ideas. I may not agree but it may stimulate some conversation that I haven’t thought of.

    I think we could all pick apart the past but my concern is not with recruiting per se, it’s with a direction as I’ve said. I had the same issue when I was there years ago. We were in such a hurry to put an Afghan face on things I think we missed what was happening in the rural areas.

    Often those sitting in the Embassy don’t have a clear picture of Afghanistan and the difference in city Afghans and rural Afghans.

    There are some people in the Afghanistan that were there when we were on the ground. I don’t believe they got it then and still don’t. Unfortunately until I retire that’s about all I’ll say on that front. 😉

  6. Thanks for the linkage, JB. goes to a piece entitled Allied exit strategy at risk as Afghan police run out of recruits, from which I extracted General Khudadad Agha’s comment about the APPF/AP3/Guardians, whose progress I have been attempting to follow from afar since they started.

    My perception has been managed to think that the program has not been successful enough in Wardak to export to other provinces.

  7. JB, you might e-mail the CSTC-A/NTM-A PAO for some clarification. This article in particular isn’t well written:
    Much of it is confusing and betrays a lack of understanding of basic military concepts.

    The author should clarify that he is writing about what I believe is the only pilot program for the Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF.) To my knowledge this has only been tried in Wardak. Personally, I was skeptical of the idea from the start. It failed. Big surprise. Given the complete mess up with APPF and the Wardak provincial AUP, what is probably needed is to bring in AUP from out of province, along with one ANCOP kandak (bn.) The out of province AUP should probably be half Pashtu. Out of province Pashtuns would still be seen as outsiders by Wardak residents since they are from non local tribes, but at least they will be professional, tough fighters, and restore faith in the GIRoA.

    Wardak was a safe province for many years. As a result it was ignored. Few ANP, ANA, let alone ISAF were sent to the province. QST (Quetta Shura Taliban) took advantage of the security vacuum to move in. The solution is to blanket the province with capable ISAF mentored ANSF and let them restore security to the province.

    I heard that some GIs talked smack about the French OMLT in Wardak. {I think it is an OMLT for 201st ANA Corps in the province, otherwise they would say POMLT if the French were provincial AUP mentors.} Interestingly, I have heard good things about the French OMLTs in Kapisha province.

    The 201st ANA in Wardak don’t seem to be that good, their French mentors are attacked for being risk averse and needing a lot of support. Does anyone know what specific 201st ANA kandaks are in Wardak?

    Does anyone know who are mentoring the Wardek provincial/district AUP
    and APPF? Are they US PMTs? Are ISAF POMLT involved?

  8. ANAN your comments sure are loaded with acronyms. You do realize for the average reader that will be hard to get through those?

    For me it’s tough as I haven’t been there in a while and things change a lot.

    So my question to you is what is your overall strategy for Afghanistan? Not the details on a particular village, city or Kandak but overall. I am not involved in the day to day details of what team, unit, ISAF CDR does but I am interested in a way forward and why it should be adopted.

    I believe it’s easy to get mired in the details, which change from location to location. That is for local commanders to figure our but the overall strategy should be inline.

    What role should the US play compared to local countries and European countries?

    I certainly am no expert on the details of ISAF and the AFGHAN protection force but rather have general experience with the region and tribal conflicts.

  9. Ditto on your last, Jb. I’ll take it a little further and say; regardless of how many ANA enlisted, nco’s or officers are trained, we still have a huge stake in the security and stability of the country. If not another soldier is trained, I believe for OUR security in the U.S. and other non muslim countries around the world, we need to have a counter-extremist muslim strategy and a large enough presence to carry that out. I think we waltz around this issue too much. We all know what their goal is and heaven forbid we get too politically incorrect and call it like we all know it is. There’s a reason you can’t get even peace loving, moderate muslims in this country to speak out against what the extremists are doing. They are scared of the repercussions.

  10. Chuck and JB, I could e-mail you some strategy ideas for Afghanistan I have offline if you want.

    Since you guys are mil bloggers, I took some acronym liberties. Please feel free to ask clarifying questions regarding any acronyms:

    AUP= Afghan Uniformed Police
    OMLT= Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (non US ISAF)
    POMLT = Police Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (non US ISAF)
    ANCOP = Afghan National Civil Order Police (elite QRF MoI battalions; there are 4 brigades of them; each has 5 combat battalions; I have never heard anything other than good things about them)

    “I believe for OUR security in the U.S. and other non muslim countries around the world, we need to have a counter-extremist muslim strategy and a large enough presence to carry that out.” I would emphasize the the extremists kill far more muslims than nonmuslims. Most muslims hate them and will share their true feelings about the extremists if you ask them. There needs to be an international muslim and nonmuslim alliance against the extremists.

  11. Yes it would seem others were thinking of this. There still is an issue of competency but that said it isn’t bad news.

    Interesting report at

    COMISAF had recommended the increase in ANSF substantially in order to meet the requirements of the current strategy for stabilization and secruity.

    I would assume this is why we are seeing such an emphasis on recruiting. Without a much larger ANSF the goals stated by this administration would never be reached. We also saw this.

    Part of that strategy was the Afghan Surge which would give the ANSF forces time to build and create a permissive enviornment to grow.

    In January 2010, JCMB granted the request to increase the end strength of both the ANA and ANP.

    Still one hell of a problem. While number can be increased it’s a slow process to get well trained troops in the field especially in Afghanistan.

    ANAN what are your thougts on this so far? Note I’ll try to add a posting on this after your reply.

  12. My thoughts on this are many. Considering writing a bunch of articles on the subject.

    The real problem is the ANATC [ANA Training Command] and MoI training command capacity. Not enough ANSF training slots at any given point of time.

    As a result, training cycles for ANA have been cut to 9 weeks from 16 weeks, and ANP training cycles are down to 6 weeks.

    Even worse, not enough training slots for NCOs and officers.

    Only 1850 NCOs were planned to be generated per year until Nov, 2009. About 500 in NCO training at any given point of time.

    Officer selection course remains only 6 months long. I think it needs to be at least 18 months long. [UK officer selection course is 1 year long for college graduates. Since ANA officer candidates are much less educated, they need longer training cycles.]

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