Will the Afghan army ever stand up and fight?

Whether they fight for the DRA, for the mujaheddin, for warlords against one another’s tribes, for the ANA or for the Taliban, many Afghans fight if they believe they are on the winning side. Some join the Taliban because they remember that the Taliban recently ruled Afghanistan and they believe it will rule again. Some Talibs fight because they believe, wrongly, that the ISAF is a coalition of conquering Christian armies occupying their country and battling their religion and culture. And many Talibs fight because they are very poor and disenfranchised and have nothing to lose.

Our men and women in uniform have performed heroically in Afghanistan, but it is now time for the ANA to be battle-tested on a large scale and to take the lead in fighting this war. Without major victories on the battlefield, and without seizing and holding battle space, the ANA will never attain the confidence and reliability it needs to be a viable force, and it will become more fearful of the al-Qaeda-assisted Taliban, less motivated to fight or even apathetic. [bron]

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