Posted by: Christian | April 1, 2009

ETTs for the Afghan National Army: Trainers or Nannies?

Or both? This looks like a hard job when all the kids want to do is drink their chai and smoke their hashish first. I love the guy in the screen shot below trying the “hashish neeeeest!”  [“It’s noooot hashish!”]. Once again, awesome reporting from John D McHugh:

The chai and weed issue is sort of a metaphor-symbol thingy (consult your nearest English Department) for their general lack of discipline.

But one should note that these guys [ANA/ANP] do take heavy casualties and it would be unfair to say that they are not trying. And I bet there are units out there that are better than this. I just don’t know how many or how few.

One thing is for sure: being an Embedded Tactical Trainer is a tough job [understatement for the day].


  1. Most of the ANA is very good, as long as they know that they won’t be hung out to dry if they get into a tight situation – much the same as most armies then. I’d be happy to roll with the ANA any day and they will only get better as their experience and cohesion increases.

  2. Ok, that was semi-disturbing. Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan has little national identity. Though both Iraq and Afghanistan are really British concepts, the people of Iraq know what it is like to live in a functioning state. Afghans do not. This is why appealing to their “nationalism” isn’t working. (At least in the video. At least as Afghans.)

    But what about the ANA? Say it got built up and worked. How could the Afghans ever pay for such a force? No oil. Copper mine? Opium?

    Obama wants to create a police state that the American tax payers are going to have to front for. The Europeans continue to get cold feet; without the Europeans we are Soviets.

    So, any ideas?

  3. One thing wrong about the argument that a large ANA is not sustainable is that if the insurgency would go away somehow, so would the need for a large ANA be gone, as well.

    Thanks for the vid, btw. I was criticised a while ago by someone I respect a lot for having raised the issue of the quality of the ANA and what foreign soldeirs might think of their Afghan counterparts at times. (This takes nothing away from my respect for the person in question – to the contrary, in fact… but that is another story.)

  4. Guys, I had the privilege of working as a police mentor last year. Very rewarding, and quite frustrating at the same time. Information and TTPs are not forthcoming since my return home. News of more troops going to Afghanistan is received with some skepticism. Believe me, I am hopeful that we will make a difference there. But the definition of a “win” in Afghanistan leaves me at a loss.

    I am not sure if our strategy is right for the situation as it exists today and will in two years.

    My impression, and mine only, is that not a lot has changed in Afghanistan. We are improving the ANA/ANP but without a synchronized plan with all the interested parties enthusiastic support, it won’t make a bit of difference to the center of gravity in Afghanistan….the people. Just my thoughts on things.

  5. […] Trustworthy watchdogs of governance? Uh huh. […]


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