Arif Ayub Anthony H. Cordesman has written an extremely detailed and accurate analysis of the Afghan National Security Forces (AN-SF) for the Centre for Strategic and International studies (September 2010). The effort to create effective Afghan forces has received a fresh momentum due to President Barack Obamas announcement that the US forces would begin withdrawing from Afghanistan by mid-2011. The Afghan forces, therefore, have to overcome a legacy of more than eight years of critical failure in both force development and training to achieve this target. The ANSF still suffers from the heritage of the following US actions: ? Attempting to create a centralised state and government without regard to capacity, power structure, ethnic and sectarian differences or the realities of tribalism and geography. ? Creating conditions for massive corruption at every level of Afghan governance and power structures. ? Failing to see the need for Afghan forces that could be effective partners and leaving the police under-armed and under-trained. ? Ignoring the need to rely on an informal justice system and allowing the Taliban to take control of the de facto justice system. ? Leaving narco-trafficking and processing largely untouched in key parts of the country where they served as a source of corruption and helped finance the insurgency. (The Taliban are supposed to earn $300 million annually from the drug trade). ? A military focus on tactical operations, rather than the security of the population empowered the insurgents and deprived most tactical victories of any strategic meaning. These mistakes were made at the strategic level, driven in part by a past focus on Iraq and limits to the resources the US could bring to the war in Afghanistan. At the same time, there were the following shortcomings with in the ANSF: ? Lack of effective coordination and training. ? Lack of capability due to insufficient force levels. ? Unwillingness to confront problems with corruption, power brokers, criminal elements and insurgents influence with the Afghan government and ANSF. ? Serious problems with recruitment, performance, m-otivation and retention. ? Illiteracy remains a major challenge and about 70 percent of recruits to the ANSF are functionally illiterate. For the Afghan National Police, the figure is estimated to be 90 percent. The US ambitious plan now hopes to expand the Afghan National Army (ANA) to 134,000 and the Afghan National Police (ANP) to 109,000 by October 2010, and to 240,000 and 160,000 by October 2011. Cordesman, however, is of the opinion that it is highly unlikely that any success can be achieved in the areas identified to support any significant transfer of responsibility to the ANSF during 2011 and cautions against ignoring the impact of Afghan cultural needs, regional and ethnic differences, family and tribal structure and Afghan national realities, since this would lead to the creation of a force lacking the proper quality and capability for a successful transition. So far, the Capability Milestone (CM) has often been little more than a dishonest joke. An audit by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction found that only 23 percent of ANA and 12 percent of ANP were capable of operating on their own. A new system, Commanders Unit Assessment Tool (CUAT), has been designed to overcome these deficiencies but has, yet, to be systematically deployed. At the same time, the ANSF cannot function as an efficient institution unless there is an effective Afghan government at the central, provincial, district and local levels. The police development effort is still on the path to failure and defeat. The ANP is broken and it is unclear if the resources necessary to correct the situation can be provided. The current plans do not seem to call for creating the level of paramilitary police capabilities and ignore the low quality of the recruitment base. The Afghan Civil Order Police (ANCOP) is still only of token size and suffers critically from attrition and from problems in capability, leadership, corruption, supporting governance and the district and local levels of courts, legal services and detention facility necessary to implement prompt justice and the rule of law. Many elements of the ANP are too corrupt and too tied to politics and power brokers to be efficient and to win popular support. Bribes, thefts and intimidation remain the rule, rather than the exception. For example, the post of Police Commander in Kandahar is auctioned for $200,000 to $400,000 since a police commander can earn more than $600,000 every year, extorting and collecting taxes on the drug trade. There is also need for an integrated civil-military partnership. The grim reality is that the Afghan central government is still too corrupt and incapable. At the same time, foreign civil aid efforts are far too narrow, too security conscious and oriented towards talks and planning to secure Afghan needs in the field. There is also a need to provide sufficient justice and local security, jobs and progress in areas like roads, electricity, water, irrigation, clinics and schools to establish lasting security and stability. Nothing about the ANSF development efforts indicates that it will be possible before 2015. ANSF development requires immediate decisions and resources to correct the shortcomings identified. As of December 2009, $11.47 billion was disbursed for the ANA and $6 billion for the ANP. The Afghan government will not be able to fund its security forces for the foreseeable future, since the spending exceeds domestic revenue collection by over 200 percent. The US must, therefore, continue to make massive investments long beyond 2011 in the range of $13 billion annually, if the force estimates envisaged are to be maintained. Ethnic and religious discrimination in the ANSF still remains an issue and resentment of the Pashtuns is increasing. Tajiks make up 41 percent of the officer rank, but only amount for 20 to 27 percent of the population, while the Pashtun population is estimated to be 40 to 50 percent. This is one of the key factors in limiting the legitimacy of the Afghan government and its security forces. The writer is a retired ambassador.