Afghan Government Calls for 400,000 Strong Force by 2015

Check out our latest research on this topic: Afghanistan National Security Markets – 2011-2016

As noted previously by HSRC, the well-coordinated attack on several emblematic targets in Kabul should come as no surprise. In advance of the US troop build-up, the insurgents’ will continue trying to discredit the Afghan government and security forces.

Assessing the success or failure of the operation is somewhat subjective. The choice of targets (government ministries, upscale hotels and the presidential palace) and the timing of the attacks were noteworthy but the insurgents were defeated, casualties were light and the security forces’ response was noticeably better than in previous incidents.

In the aftermath of the attack and just prior to the January 28th donor conference to be held in London, Omar Zakhilwal, the Afghan Minister of Finance, announced that the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board, which is comprised of Afghan government and UN officials, as well as representatives of the largest donor countries, has agreed to increase the number of Afghan security forces to 400,000 within five years. According to Mr. Zakhilwal, the government is calling for 240,000 Afghan soldiers and 160,000 national police to be ready in three to five years.

While recruitment numbers have risen significantly over the past two months, retention remains a challenge and there still remains the persistent shortfall of qualified trainers. Upon returning from a recent tour of Afghanistan, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman, Sen. Carl Levin, stated that allied countries have only deployed 37% of the committed number of trainers. In light of the new 400,000 figure set by the JCMB, this issue, as well as accelerating the overall implementation of the “train and equip” program will be foremost on the London conference’s agenda.

Over the next five years (2010-2014), the Afghan “train, equip and maintain” program will cost the US approximately $65 billion and present US businesses with over $37 billion of opportunities. Understanding the players and processes involved in directing and implementing the “train, equip and maintain” program is essential to capitalizing on these opportunities.

Homeland Security Research Corporation’s latest release, “Afghanistan Government National Security Markets – 2010-2014”, contains unparalleled insight into the Afghan national security market, which is forecast to increase from $5.6 billion in 2009 to $15.3 billion by 2014. In 340 pages, 133 tables and 155 graphs, the report analyzes the institutions, agencies and procurement services involved in the process.