Afghan National Army

According to a report by The Herald, less than half of the Afghan National Army soldiers have chosen to re-enlist after three years in uniform. This report concerned the 70,000 strong national army plan which will be completed in 2009. And if less then half of the ANA soldiers choose to re-enlist after three years service then it will be impossible to have a 70,000 strong national army by 2009. So we hope the Afghan government and coalition forces work on a better plan to increase the requirement process and also avoid the failure to re-enlist of the soldiers after three years by seminars which aims to show the importance of their service to their country.

The Afghan National Army currently faces some problems. Many of their weapons are old and the ones which are new aren't good quality weapons. Most of them look like AK-47s, but they are from China, Iran and some other Asian countries. They also have Russian weapons which remain from the Soviet Union which are better, but many of these weapons are over 25 to 30 years old and a lot of ANA soldiers complain about their weapons. The salaries of the Afghan National Army soldiers are very low compared to other employees. Also there are always delays in getting their salaries - they do not get paid on time - sometimes they have to wait 2 to 3 months to get their payments, so they go broke and that is disappointing to the soldiers. A construction worker makes more than an ANA soldier. An ANA soldier makes between $70 to $80 a month, which is unjust, and their job is risky, so they should at least make more than a construction worker. So salaries should be increased - otherwise it will be very hard to have a 70,000-strong army by the end of 2009.

The Afghan government should also make housing plans for the ANA officers and soldiers such as building apartments for the Afghan Army personnel and the government could issue land or an apartment for those who have been serving or will serve at least 5 years for the Afghan Army because most of the ANA soldiers are financially poor and with $80 salary they will not be able to afford serving in the Army. That's why many of them want to serve only 3 years. The United States of America and some other countries like Canada, Germany, England, and France physically train and financially help the ANA - particularly the United States of America which is already taking a huge part in training the Afghan National Army. Since 2003, some countries financially and logistically help the ANA, but they don't have big hand in the training of ANA. It will be possible to have a 70,000-strong Afghan National Army if some other countries take part in order to train the ANA.

Some countries aren't happy to send their troops to war against terrorists, but if they send some of their troops to train the Afghan Army, it will also be like a war against terrorists because once Afghanistan has a strong national army, we can defeat the terrorists by ourselves and other countries wouldn't need to bother sending their troops. We hope more countries like Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea etc and each of these countries train one battalion at a time and issue them with new weapons or used ones - at least their weapons are better than Chinese, Iranian and Pakistani weapons. We know that it will cost millions of dollars to have a 70,000-strong Army. We appreciate those countries who have been training the Afghan Army but if more countries contribute to this process it will run faster and Afghanistan will have a 70,000-strong national army by 2009.

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