A Better Method of Training Afghan Soldiers

Retired Special Forces NCO Kyle Flynn, a veteran of the Afghanistan war, recently wrote an interesting blog about the training of Afghan soldiers.  The post is titled “Flynn on Bergen: the Afghan army issue,” and it was published on Tom Ricks blog, The Best Defense,  on Oct. 14 (http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/).

Mr. Flynn observes that the Afghan National Army (ANA) has little public support, especially in Pashtun-dominated areas.  He recommends that the coalition take a bottom-up approach to training, which would entail using local tribe members exclusively to defend their towns and villages rather than “foreign” ANA personnel from other parts of the country.

Mr. Flynn’s advice is sound.  Afghanistan is not really a nation-state, but a territorial entity comprised of rival tribes and ethnic groups, and the coalition needs to recognize this fact.  Nearly all analysts agree that building up the Afghan security forces is critical for defeating the Taliban insurgency.  But so far the ANA has been fairly ineffective, and it makes sense to try a different approach to recruiting and training new soldiers.

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