Ill-equipped, poorly paid and caught between NATO and the people, the Afghan Army is struggling to stand up to the Taliban as it is. We reveal why Obama may backtrack on the plan to double its size.
All the thirty-seven countries whose armies are in Afghanistan, they all have much better equipment and weapons than the Afghan army. All we have is belief and bravery. Sergeant Major Suniman complains that, unlike their foreign mentors, his troops have to fight in unarmoured vehicles. Not only this but theyre paid a pittance. Morale in this camp outside of Kabul, is at an all-time low. Theres not a single province that our battalion has not fought in and defeated the enemy, says one frustrated soldier. With conditions such as these, theres little incentive for Afghans to join the Afghan Army. They pay them five thousand Afghani, but we pay them fifteen thousand, says a proud Taliban leader. No longer trusted by the people, the Afghan Army has been unable to act as a bridge to the hearts and mind of the Afghans. Now even NATOs resources are not enough to win the psychological war that is being waged here: NATO has got all sorts of tanks, machine guns, everything you need for war, says Major Daud, but the enemy has the upper hand because they have a place amongst the people. Many in the Afghan Army feel that they can only win back the support of the people if the NATO forces leave and grant them the resources to fight their own war.