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Afghan Military Forces [AMF]

As of early 2001 the combat formations of Masoud's militia were grouped in two regional commands, called "corps" or "zones." The Parwan-Kapisa Command, the successor of the former 5th Corps, was responsible for the areas south of the Salang pass and northern approaches to Salang (including Andarab and Dasht-e Kilagai). Military formations of the Northeastern Zone were organized in the 6th Corps. It was composed of three divisions deployed in Takhar, Kondoz, and Badakshan provinces.

In theory by summer 2002 there were over 40 divisions and dozens of separate brigades. Many of the divisions were led by Panjshiri commanders. Out of the eight "army corps" the Northern Alliance controlled six. The Central Corps (four divisions, all in Kabul), 1st Corps in Nangarhar / Nangrahar (two divisions), 2d Corps in Kandahar (three divisions), 3d Corps in Paktia (three divisions), 4th Corps in Herat (three divisions and several new units made up of former mujahideen), 5th Corps in Charikar (three divisions), 6th Corps in Baghlan-Takhar (three divisions), 7th Corps in Mazar-e Sharif (four divisions).

General Abdul Rashid Dostum, the Deputy Minister of Defense, maintained his own seven-division army in the north, with divisions deployed in Mazar-e Sharif, Jawzjan, Sar-e Pul, Hairatan, and Mamaymaneh. Several divisions were under central command. These included the 1st in Kabul, 27th in Qalat, 31st in Kabul, 34th in Bamian, 36th in Logar, 41st in Ghor, 42d in Wardak, 71st in Farah, and 100th in Laghman.

The Ministry of Defense in 2002 recognised separate army corps, the 7th Corps and 8th Corps, at Mazar and Shiberghan respectively. Previously there was only one corps for the northern military zone, based in Mazar. Rivalries between Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dostum and the Mazar-based Tajik commander Atta Mohammad prevented the integration of their two forces under one corps.

By one well informed estimate total nominal strength as of 2002 was about 700,000, while the actual strength was about 200,000.

Having recognized thesignificance of localism, in December 2002 President Karzai outlawed all Afghan Military Forces other than the ANA. As of mid-2004 this had yet to be implemented, as the warlords maintained their private armies including Minister of Defense (MOD) Mohamed Fahim himself.

Larry P. Goodson, Ph.D., Professor of Middle East Studies, Department of National Security and Strategy, United States Army War College predicted in June 2003 that "... the US will begin drawing down its forces in Afghanistan, on the grounds that the Bonn Accords process of political transition to a ''democracy'' will have been completed. The government will not have changed much, however, with Shura-yi Nazar and other northern minority leaders still in control, and southern and eastern Pushtuns increasingly restive over their marginalization. Thus, the government in Kabul will be set up with strong Presidential powers, but the reality on the ground will make that government extremely weak, leaving Karzai as little more than the ''mayor of Kabul.''"

Rivalry between armed factions continued to be a source of insecurity. Skirmishes between rival factions in the north led to the establishment in early 2003 of a Joint Security Commission which was able to broker ceasefires following the outbreak of fighting in Maymana, Faryab province, in April 2003 and in Mazar-i-Sharif, Balkh province, in May and October 2003. Nonetheless, tensions remained high and durable solutions were not apparent.

Tribal militias provided security in rural areas where US-coalition forces and the Afghan government are unable to do so. By April 2003 the growing assertiveness of these militias and their easily shifting political loyalties was hampering the central government's efforts to extend its authority beyond Kabul and the US-coalition's pursuits of its own goals in the country.

In order to gain cooperation ofthe warlords for the creation of the ANA, the Karzai government and U.S. hosted a two-dayconference in April 2003 called “Shaping the future of Afghanistan – the military dimension.” The end result was full agreement by all the participants, including 50 militia leaders andwarlords, that they would “work closely with the Ministry of Defense in taking direction from the central government to the common defense of the nation and in building the New National Army.”

In June 2003 Coalition forces and soldiers from the 1st Corps, Afghan Military Forces, conducted a cooperative combat and civil affairs operation in the Gosta and surrounding districts, Nangarhar Province, east of Jalalabad. Ongoing operations in Haji Din Mohammad and General Hazrat Ali's area of concern contributed to security and stability in Afghanistan. Coalition forces and AMF worked side by side to ensure the well being of local villages in this border region while simultaneously conducting operations to deny sanctuary to anti-coalition forces.

Nangarhar province had historically served as an al-Qaeda stronghold. The threat against US forces in the Nangarhar province is currently limited to standoff harassing attacks. Most attacks occur in the city of Jalalabad in the form of improvised explosive devices placed in populated areas. There have also been cases when IEDs have been used to target Afghan government officials. General Ali, AMF I Corps commander, appeared to have effectively controlled anti-coalition forces in the Nangarhar province.

In 2002, Afghan military forces were a conglomeration of militias, a remnant of Najibullah’s communist government collapse in 1992. The coalition disarmed and reintegrated many of these militias, but the coalition incorporated many of their ranks into the new Afghan National Army [ANA] and Afghan National Police [ANP]. By April 2007, the ANA numbered roughly forty-nine thousand and the ANP numbered roughly thirty thousand.

Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) was executed under the construct of a United Nations (UN) program called the Afghan New Beginnings Program (ANBP). DDR was implemented in 2003 and concluded by July 2006. Under this program, the AMF were required to report to any one of a variety of collection stations to turn-in their weapons and demobilize their forces. Despite the completion of DDR, many armed militias still remain in Afghanistan and, under the leadership of various warlords, wield significant influence in a variety of ways.

Since June 11, 2005, the disarmament effort has focused on “DIAG” — Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups, run by the Afghan Disarmament and Reintegration Commission, headed by Vice President Khalili. Under the DIAG, no payments are available to fighters, and the program depends on persuasion rather than use of force against the illegal groups. DIAG has not been well funded it has received $11 million in operating funds, and Japan and other donors have made available $35 million for development projects where illegal groups have disbanded. These incentives were intended to accomplish the disarmament of a pool of as many as 150,000 members of 1,800 different “illegal armed groups”: militiamen that were not part of recognized local forces (Afghan Military Forces, AMF) and were never on the rolls of the Defense Ministry. These goals were not met by the December 2007 target date. Armed groups in the south said they needed to remain armed against the Taliban, but the UN reported that 100 out of 140 districts planned for DIAG were considered “DIAG compliant.” (U.N. Secretary General Report, March 9, 2011)



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