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The role of US forces in the development of the Afghan National Army
Material posted: Publication date: 14-11-2015
The paper examines the role of US forces in the development of the Afghan National Army, the stages of the relationship between the two countries, the procedure for the establishment of the Afghan army, the Armed Forces of the country views and its development prospects.

History of mutual relations of the USA and Afghanistan. In the XX-th century beginning Afghanistan becomes arena of rivalry of two super-powers - Russia and England, then this state becomes we weed battles of times of "cold war» and, at last, under the pretext of a refuge of the international terrorists becomes a subject of an extensive discussion of geopoliticians. There is a natural question why Afghanistan was to some extent dependent on the strong states? The matter is that the country authorities simply not could control somehow a situation as in the state, and abroad and constantly needed the foreign help. Speaking about development of Afghanistan, it is possible to notice that the money resources allocated for improvement of the state in all aspects, catastrophically did not suffice. The USA are more active than other states, took part in stabilisation of conditions in the country, and also to creation and the subsequent modernisation of national army.

The history of mutual relations of Afghanistan and the USA begins since 1980. The United States have started to lend support, in spite of the fact that in February of this year the American ambassador in Kabul has been stolen. Support proceeded even after the group of Islamic fundamentalists in Iran has grasped embassy of the USA. What has forced the USA to help the country which is not the strong ally? To answer this point in question it is necessary to consider a position of the USA concerning input of troops of the USSR to Afghanistan. Orientation of all countries of Islam against the USSR was the purpose of cooperation of the USA and Afghanistan. On January, 23rd 1979 president Carter in performance before the nation has declared that any attempts to establish control over Persian gulf, will be considered as an encroachment on the vital interests of the USA which will be defended by all available means, including by military men. In the speech he has noticed that after December events of 1979 all Near-Eastern region is threatened from the Soviet troops. Rendering of the confidential help to the forces struggling against the Soviet troops and the Afghani government («Operation the Cyclone») became the basic direction of foreign policy of the USA since 1980. But also the USA actively operated on diplomatic arena, in every possible way condemning actions of the USSR. The United States have started to render the financial help to anticommunist forces in Afghanistan on July, 3rd, 1979. Important making operation work with refugees was. The matter is that from the beginning of Saursky revolution to Pakistan refugees, not consent with a new mode have rushed. And after input of the Soviet troops opponents of the Soviet presence at the country there have directed. CIA used them for struggle against the Soviet troops. For preparation of refugees the American and Pakistan authorities used Islamic medrese. After 1980 the quantity medrese in Pakistan where Afghans were trained, has increased with 2500 to 39000. Moreover, in cooperation with Saudi Arabia the United States involved Wahhabites as teachers in these medrese. Thus, for achievement of the purposes, namely defeat of the USSR in Afghanistan, the American government meaningly went on distribution of radical Islamic doctrines and creation of a basis for Islamic terrorism. In 1982-1992 in operations in Afghanistan took part more than 40 representatives of the Muslim states. In March, 1985 the US president R.Reagan has signed the Instruction of national safety № 166 which allowed to increase the confidential military help, including the arms supplies, which volume in 1987 has reached 65 thousand tons. The United States provided Mojaheds with the prospecting information on the politician and new plans of the USSR in Afghanistan. In the report it was told about the purposes of the USSR, about plans of military operations. As a whole, the United States have spent more than 2 billion dollars for support of Mojaheds in 1980. It was the largest secret operation since the Second World War.

Creation of new army. Process of formation of new armed forces of Afghanistan has begun in December, 2002 with Hamid Karzai's decree «About creation of the Afghani national army» (ANA). On Incorporated central command VS the USA which zone of responsibility includes Afghanistan, the problem of the organisation of process of formation of national armed forces of the country has been assigned. The given program has been developed by means of the American experts.

It included following problems:

  • Disarmament of all breeding and other formations
  • Transition to exclusively voluntary principle of acquisition on purpose to avoid a situation with mass desertion and transition to the party of the opponent
  • Disbandment of the Air Forces as kind VS and transfer of aviation technics to Air case ANA
  • Formation of five army cases of brigade structure with functions of regional commands in Kabul, Gardeze, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif
  • Creation of is easy-infantry subdivisions
  • Staff training under NATO standards, reequipment ANA on the weapon and technics of manufacture of the USA: assault rifles М-16, machine guns М-240, armoured personnel carriers М113.

Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, has laid down for itself the aim to create army, number in 70 000 men in 2009. Nevertheless, many western military experts, and also ìèíèñòð îáîðîíû Àôãàíèñòàíà , Àáäóë Ðàõèì Âàðäàê , considered that the army should make a minimum of 200 000 military men.

The first new Afghani batallion has been trained by the British military men troops Ìåæäóíàðîäíûõ ñèë ñîäåéñòâèÿ áåçîïàñíîñòè  (ISAF). [3] the Given subdivision became the first batallion of the Afghani national guards. Preparation was conducted at high level, but shortage of experts affected time. Having considered complexity of a situation the government of the United States of America has decided that can assist in training.

Thus, training has been continued by 1st batallion 3-é ãðóïïû ñèë ñïåöèàëüíîãî íàçíà÷åíèÿ . The first training has begun in May, 2002 with rather difficult, but successful process of a set of staff of recruits with all regions of Afghanistan. Originally training passed on ïóøòó  and give languages.

The first distribution of troops outside of Kabul has passed successfully thanks to 3 batallion ANA. Paktika became a new place of a troop disposition. By January, 2003 more than 1700 soldiers of five batallions has finished a 10-week course, and to the middle of 2003 was 4000 military men are prepared in total. Process of training of army was at a loss the following:

1) In the first days of summer of 2003 in army there was a desertion problem. In the middle of March, 2004 3000 soldiers deserted.

2) the Age of some recruits did not reach even 18 years, and many of them were not able to read and write.

3) Recruits who only spoke in language pushtu experienced difficulties because of the training, passing basically in language give

One of the major actions of that time between the United States and Afghanistan is The Afghan New Beginnings Programme.

The given program included disarmament of illegal armed groups. It has been counted up that in 2004 on the average existed to 1800 illegal groupings into which entered more than 120000 persons.

In July, 2005 the national project on destruction of anti-personnel mines and ammunition has been launched. According to this project, ammunition will be moved to safe premises for storage, and the rest will be destroyed. This project is important for Afghanistan as for the country which has signed a convention about prohibition of application, stockpilings, manufactures and transfers of anti-personnel minutes [4]

Organizational-regular structure. In present VS IRA - the Afghani national army (ANA), whose number is estimated in 200 thousand persons - have the following organizational-regular structure.

Now Supreme commander in chief VS, according to Constitution IRA of 2004, the President is.

The Joint Staff arranged in Kabul.

Command of land forces ANA (about 142 thousand military men, a headquarters Kabul) to which six army cases and one division are subordinated.

Air forces of Afghanistan (about 6 thousand military men, the headquarters is arranged nearby from the international airport of Kabul); in July, 2010 are transformed from Air case ANA as separate kind VS.

Command of Forces of special operations ANA (about 12,5 thousand military men, the headquarters is arranged in a province of Vardak) into which the headquarters of command and a division of special operations (one brigade of the special operations, one brigade "kommandos", six separate batallions "kommandos", an aviawing of special operations and the educational centre enter).

The command of material support including the Central agency of transportations (transport brigade) and the Central repair shops in Kabul.

Command of a set of volunteers.

Combat training command, and also a number of other auxiliary formations.

Command of land forces. Number about 142 thousand military men, a headquarters Kabul. The basic connection of Command of land forces ANA is the army case (AK) the brigade structure, carrying out simultaneously functions of regional command. Six army cases ANA have own names and not through numbering, and odd numbers: 201 AK, 203 AK, 205 AK, 207 AK, 209 AK, 215 AK. Some provinces usually enter Into a zone of responsibility AK.

To the corps commander one batallion "kommandos" Commands of forces of special operations ANA is subordinated, as a mobile reserve since 2012 in each case are generated on one batallion of fast reaction, to which arms there are wheel armoured personnel carriers М1117 of the American manufacture.

OSHS army case ANA looks as follows:


Место дислокации штаба


201 АК «Силаб»

Передовая база «Гэмбери» КМП США,

Провинция Лагман

Каписа, Кунар, Лагаман, Нангархар, Нуристан, Панджшер, Парван

203 АК «Тандар»

г. Гардез

Бамиан, Вардак, Газни, Логар, Пактика, Актия, Хост

205 АК «Аталь»

г. Кандагар

Дайкунди, Кандагар

207 АК «Зафар»

г. Герат

Бадгис, Герат, Гор, часть провинции Фарах, севернее р.Фарахуд

209 АК «Шахин»

г. Мазари-Шариф

Баглан, Бадахшан, Балх, Джаузджан, Кундуз, Саманган, Сари-Пуль, Тахар, Фарьяб

215 АК «Майванд»

г. Лашкаргах

Гильменд, Нимроз, часть провинции Фарах южнее р. Фарахруд

On February, 2nd, 2007 the USA have transferred 213 jeeps, more than 12000 easy arms, 800 various armour vehicles to land forces of the Afghani national army during ceremony in depot in Pol-e-Charhi. On it the military help did not come to an end and in April, 2008 of the USA have concluded the contract with the company «Airtronic USA» on delivery to Afghanistan, on a military assistance program, 335 pieces of grenade launchers M203, and in September, 2008 the contract on delivery to Afghanistan 2887 pieces of automatic carbines Colt M4 <> has been concluded. [5]

Command of forces of special operations ANA. It has been created in 2011 and for 2013 was about 12,5 thousand military men, the headquarters is arranged in a province of Vardak. It organizational consists of a command headquarters, number about 350 military men and a division of special operations by regular number of 12200 persons. The division includes a brigade of forces of special operations, a brigade "kommandos" and six separate batallions "kommandos", given on one army cases, an aviawing of special operations and «the Higher school kommandos» at the Kabul educational centre. After passage of obligatory training to battle conditions under the direction of the American instructors, to the military men who have successfully passed tests, the stripe of "Force of a special purpose» which rushes over a stripe of "Kommandos" is handed over.

On arms of Command of special operations ANA there are American arms: assault rifles М-16 and carbines М-4, podstvolnye grenade launchers М203 and armoured personnel carriers М1117.

So, in 2012 the American-Afghani agreement on strategic partnership in which such element as military partnership was provided was accepted. [6] First, within the limits of this agreement, Afghanistan transfers control of special operations in hands of the USA. Secondly, Afghanistan gives to the American contingent access to military facilities, and also possibility to stay in the country for the purpose of training of the Afghani military men. Those USA see Afghanistan the main military partner out of the NATO that in many respects predetermines character of their intergovernmental relations.

Air forces of Afghanistan Number about 6 thousand military men, the headquarters is arranged nearby from the international airport of Kabul. Now are characterised, on the one hand, by qualitative and quantitative growth from the moment of transformation of Air case ANA to a separate kind of armed forces, on the other hand, in still weak battle potential. As a part of the Air Forces there are no warplanes except for two supported uchebno-training planes L-39 of Czechoslovak manufacture which can be used as easy attack planes, and only 6 shock helicopters Mi-35 that does by the extremely inconvenient realisation of support of troop operations from air. In 2008 of the Air Forces of the USA have concluded the contract with the Italian company «Alenia Aeronautica» on delivery for the Air Forces of Afghanistan of 18 military-transport planes C-27A <> (G.222), till 2005 of the Air Forces which were on arms of Italy, and also spare parts and the auxiliary land equipment. [7] All planes should have training preselling preparation, and two of them are converted in a VIP-configuration for transportation of high-ranking officials. The total cost of the order has made 287 million dollars. In September, 2010 the additional contract on delivery of two more planes C-27A <>общей has been concluded by cost of 30 million dollars. However from the beginning operation of planes in the Air Forces of Afghanistan there were problems, and on March, 30th, 2012 the Air Forces of the USA have concluded the new two-year contract on 107,7 million dollars for the purpose of restoration Afghani С-27А and their service.

Command of a set of volunteers has a network of recruiting points on all territory of the country in which reception wishing comes true to enlist. Then they go to the educational centres of army cases or the educational centre in Kabul. Entrants of the higher military educational institutions also make out the private affairs through recruiting points.

Combat training command is responsible for the organisation of training of all categories of staff ANA and now has the following structure:

  • The university of national defence into which have entered National military academy, its prototype is Academy of Army of the USA the Vest-point. The national military academy prepares younger officers in a rank "lieutenant" with civil degree of the bachelor;
  • Command-headquarters college;
  • The Kabul educational centre at which operate Officer candidate school and - the Higher school "kommandos";
  • The university of the Air Forces organizational entering into air forces;
  • Educational cents in army cases;
  • The command of material support including the Central agency of transportations (transport brigade) and the Central repair shops in Kabul;

Prospects for the development of army. Now the alert of army of Afghanistan is on a low level. Power structures (all about 330 thousand persons) in the conditions of a conclusion from the country of the basic unit of foreign military contingents, and also taking into account essential reduction of the financial help from abroad are not capable to solve the problems assigned to them independently. They can provide relative safety only in capital region and regions of a constant disposition of connections and units.

Questions of a current state of the Afghani army, direction of its further development are object of steadfast attention and a subject for active discussion not only in a local society, but also in foreign countries. The situation is aggravated with that circumstance that to 70 % of arms of units and subdivisions SV and the Air Forces is faulty. Practically there are no reserves of material means. Weak preparation air and technicians does not allow to provide effective operation of available aviation park, including to give necessary support to conducted antiterrorist actions.

Creation of efficient armed forces is interfered also by shortage of volunteers because of low level of a monetary ration of military men (at the private soldier - 70 dollars a month), unwillingness to leave by office necessity of a place of constant residing, high level of desertion (about 40 thousand persons in 2014), a narcotism (more than 20 % of recruits), a state of health (50 % do not correspond to shown requirements) and illiteracy of the overwhelming majority of recruits (from 20 persons the completed elementary education has only one).

In this connection the Afghani government realises ground plan VS in which a number of the prospects which achievement will occupy not less than 10 years is defined.

Formation about 50 new connections, units and subdivisions. According to it by 2018 it is supposed to enter the mechanised and artillery brigades, separate tank batallions, subdivisions of RHB-PROTECTION, communication and anti-aircraft defence into battle structure of land forces.

Giving to managerial process by troops of new quality and fastening of the new status of an officer personnel in a society that means by itself preparation of officer shots for all levels of the organisation of management.

Pay rise and granting to officers of social privileges who should raise at citizens interest to service in army

Army re-equipment by modern arms, and also training of staff ANA of operation of these arms.

Perfection of system of acquisition of troops by professional shots.

In the end of 2013 command of VS IRA has started formation in SV essentially new structural element - forces of fast reaction as a part of two brigades of fast reaction. Acquisition of the given connections by staff, arms and military technology (VVT) now comes true.

The great attention is given to creation of an effective logistics system, including repair-regenerative base, and also improvement of quality and intensity of an implementation operative and combat training.

Command of armed forces of Afghanistan expects to have in intermediate term prospect in battle structure national VS six army cases, two divisions (111th infantry and SSO), more than 40 brigades (separate, as a part of army cases and divisions), seven helicopter eskadrily (separate and as a part of aviawings), and also seven antiaircraft rocket divisions. On their arms about 200 tanks, over 1 000 instruments of a field artillery, RSZO and mortars are planned to have, air defence weapons, more than 800 armoured combat vehicles and about 100 planes and helicopters of different function.

The general expenses on realisation of the planned plans, including purchases abroad VVT, should exceed 20 mlrd dollars. [8] thus Afghanistan can allocate no more than 10 % of necessary money resources. Main "sponsor" of power structures of this country there are United States and their allies who, most likely, under the pretext of necessity of joint counteraction to an expansion of influence of extremists will try to shift a unit of expenses on the region countries (first of all to India and China).

Thus, it is possible to notice that successful fulfilment of the plan of reforming of power structures of Afghanistan developed with the assistance of the USA will allow to raise some their fighting capability, and also to consolidate material base and to improve financial security of staff.

References to sources


[2] National security decision directives, 1981-1989



[5] «Record Number Favors Removing U.S. Troops from Afghanistan»

[6] Strategic Partnership Agreement, 2 may 2012



The list of references

  1. Snesarev A.E.Afghani lessons: Conclusions for the future in the light of an ideological heritage. M.:ВУ 2003
  2. Sychev V. F. The USA and the Muslim world - HARES. 2005.
  3. Moskalenko V. N. Pakistan and Afghanistan: a shift. Afghanistan in the XX-th century beginning. Institute of studying of Israel and the Near East. The collection of articles. M, 2004
  4. Ganiev T.A.analys forecasting of political-military conditions in foreign countries. Republic Afghanistan. M.:ВУ, 2004
  5. A concurrent resolution calling upon the United States government to recognise the Afghan resistance as the legitimate representative of the Afghan people, 2002
  6. Bearden M. Afghanistan Graveyard of Empires. 2006
  7. Sushentsov V.V.Malye vojna of the USA: Political strategy of the USA in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2000-2010-th years: the Scientific edition / M. 2014

Klimenko A.A.

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