Will the Afghan security forces be able to maintain security and defend the country from internal threats and external aggression? ISAF Spokesman believes they can
President Hamid Karzai’s reluctance in signing the bilateral security agreement (BSA) before the coming elections has left the Afghan government in serious quandary. After repeated warnings by senior U.S. officials to sign the deal without further dilly-dallying, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has said the agreement is crucial to ensure continued presence of foreign soldiers in Afghanistan after 2014.
In an exclusive interview with Afghan Zariza, General Heinz Feldmann, the ISAF Spokesman in Afghanistan, said the bilateral security agreement is important for long-term security of the war-weary country. “For our post-2014 presence in Afghanistan, we need strong legal base and that depends on the fate of bilateral security agreement,” says Mr. Feldmann.
Although the Spokesman did not categorically warn about the full withdrawal of ISAF soldiers if the bilateral security agreement was aborted, he dropped many hints to suggest that.
This year is particularly important for Afghanistan as historic Presidential elections in April would be followed by the withdrawal of foreign troops in December
Mr. Feldmann expressed hope that the Afghan government would sign on the dotted line to create legal framework for the continued presence of foreign soldiers in Afghanistan.
This year is particularly important for Afghanistan as historic Presidential elections in April would be followed by the withdrawal of foreign troops in December, after which the Afghan security forces would assume the security responsibilities of their country.
But, a question on everyone’s mind is: will the Afghan security forces be able to maintain security and defend the country from internal threats and external aggression without the assistance of foreign troops.
The ISAF Spokesman is confident that the Afghan forces would to able to take up the security responsibilities and carry out the counter-insurgency operations on their own.
Currently, there are a total of 350,000 security personnel in Afghanistan. According to Mr. Feldmann, they are competent to protect people and maintain security.
“If we look at the accomplishments of Afghan security forces in the last summer when they put up a strong front against militants, that shows their capabilities in defending the country,” says Mr. Feldmann. “Also the way they maintained security for the consultative Loya Jirga recently was commendable.”
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), he said, is presently leading all the counter-insurgency operations across Afghanistan. ISAF is working on a new mission for Afghanistan that would come into force after 2014, he informed.
Mr. Feldmann said, after 2014, the foreign forces would mostly focus on training and advising Afghan soldiers. He added ISAF would train the Afghan forces in a way that makes them professional and competent.
The ISAF Spokesman is confident that the Afghan forces would to able to take up the security responsibilities and carry out the counter-insurgency operations on their ownEquipping the Afghan forces with sophisticated and modern weaponry is one of the core challenges ahead, said the ISAF Spokesman.
Afghan military officials have repeatedly emphasized that they are fully prepared to defend the country from internal security threats posed by Taliban and other fringe armed groups, but they lack necessary equipments to protect their borders from external aggression.
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