Offiziere.ch: Afghanistan’s Leadership Problem

18.02.12

Categorie: Afghanistan, Afghanistan 2012, Police, Special Forces, Training |
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U.S. and Romanian Special Forces train Afghan Provincial Response Company, Laghman Province, Feb. 9, 2012. David Axe photo.

U.S. and Romanian Special Forces train Afghan Provincial Response Company, Laghman Province, Feb. 9, 2012. David Axe photo.

by DAVID AXE

Afghan security forces will take over as U.S.-led international troops gradually withdraw from Afghanistan through 2014. At least that’s the plan. Poor leadership could undermine Afghan efforts to secure their own country. “There’s a gross lack of leadership in Afghanistan,” says “Tom,” a U.S. Army Special Forces officer assigned to train Afghan police in Laghman province, east of Kabul.

Tom spoke on the condition we not print his real name.

It’s not clear why Afghanistan fails to produce good military leaders in the right quantity, although Tom offers some hints. He describes a culture infused with concept of insh’allah, Arabic for “if God wills it.” As long as God is calling the shots, men don’t have to.

Widespread cronyism and corruption, rooted in poor governance, poverty and a strong sense of family and tribal loyalty, can also prevent good leadership candidates from advancing through the ranks. For instance, a governor’s halfwit brother is more likely to attain a leadership position than a genuinely qualified man with no ties to high-ranking officials.

Read the rest at Offiziere.ch.

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3 Responses to “Offiziere.ch: Afghanistan’s Leadership Problem”

  1. void says:

    I would be interested in your take on the Romanian special forces guys you saw. How good are they, how do they interact with the Afghans, are they just assisting the US trainers or are they running their own programs in parallel?

  2. David Axe says:

    The Romanians work alongside the U.S. SF in a subordinate role. In other words, an American leads the SF team, but Romanians are integrated at all levels short of top leadership. The Romanians are very professional but are a young SF force — just 8 years old. So they lack deep experience.

  3. ajay says:

    “For instance, a governor’s halfwit brother is more likely to attain a leadership position than a genuinely qualified man.”

    How different from the situation in the US!

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