UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Afghan National Army Territorial Force (ANATF)

The development of the Afghan National Army Territorial Force – though in its early stages - will ultimately provide a locally recruited, nationally trained and nationally led “hold force” to free the regular army units for offensive operations. The ANA-TF is a locally-recruited and nationally led hold force that the Afghans can sustain and afford. To move away from the traditional Afghan practice of using private militias and other armed groups to address local security challenges, President Ghani intends to establish an ANATF. The ANATF is meant to employ locally recruited, nationally trained and led forces in areas where security conditions permit the use of lighter, more affordable forces to provide local security. If successful, the ANATF model will allow the ANA to transition to a smaller, more affordable force in the future, provide some short-term cost savings, and allow for increased support to the ASSF and AAF. An ANATF pilot program will begin in up to three provinces in 2018, with a possible second round of pilot programs in 2019. If successful, the ANDSF planned to incorporate ANATF units into the permanent force structure starting in 2019. Recruiting for the first ANATF pilot companies began during early 2018.

The ANDSF Roadmap added the Afghan National Army Territorial Force (ANATF) as a new ANA component. The ANATF is a President Ghani-directed effort to create a more effective, professional, sustainable, and MoD-led local security force. ANATF will serve as a local “hold” force in government-controlled areas as ANDSF offensive operations progress in contested areas. Unlike the Afghan Local Police (ALP), the MoD will command and control the locally recruited, nationally trained ANATF. ANATF soldiers will receive the same basic training as all ANA soldiers and be led by full-time ANA officers. The first “pilot” ANATF tolays will complete training and begin operating with their parent ANA kandaks, brigades, and corps.

The ANATF is a pilot program designed to create ANA units that serve as the hold force in permissive security environments that typically require ANA presence to allow conventional ANA forces to conduct offensive operations in contested areas. ANATF are locally recruited, nationally trained and led personnel. The ANATF is designed to be more affordable and sustainable than traditional ANA units due to their lighter equipment. The MoD recruits ANATF soldiers from select districts where the MoD has determined an ANATF company is required. The collection of soldiers from a particular district attend traditional ANA basic training together at the Kabul Military Training Center (KMTC), followed by an additional six weeks of collective training as a company.

With the exception of the leadership, ANATF units are composed of personnel from a district that serve in their home district. The platoon level and above leadership for an ANATF unit come from the conventional ANA brigade that serves as the ANATF company’s higher headquarters. The ANATF leadership do not come from the district where the ANATF unit serves. The ANATF unit mission is to hold and secure their home district. ANATF units are not intended, nor are they equipped, to deploy away from their home district to conduct offensive operations.

ANATF units are more affordable and sustainable than conventional ANA units for several reasons: ANATF soldiers receive 75 percent of the pay a conventional ANA soldier receives; the units are equipped with light trucks, motorcycles, and small arms rather than High-Mobility, Multi- Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) and artillery; and ANATF units will occupy existing bases and facilities, avoiding new infrastructure construction costs.

The Territorial Force recruits receive the same training as their regular Army counterparts at the Kabul Military Training Center. The recruits are screened, and receive 12 weeks of basic training, which includes a program on human rights, with training monitored by the NATO mission. The Territorial Force is commanded and led by regular Army officers and noncommissioned officers, and will be integrated into the brigades and corps in the areas in which they operate. The NATO mission, in conjunction with the United Nations Aid Mission Afghanistan, is advising and assisting the Ministry of Interior in improving training including human rights, reporting procedures, and supervision of the ALP.

During early 2019, soldiers for ANATF pilot units entered training and will be employed later this year. If the pilot program, which consists of up to 7 companies, is successful, additional ANATF companies will join the force in 2019 and potentially replace conventional companies in uncontested areas.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 06-09-2018 17:36:47 ZULU