NATO &‘green on blue attacks’
This point also encapsulates the consequence of war on terror, that is, the longer the effects of asymmetrical war spread over designated population in Afghanistan, the implementation of sophisticated models of development would lack appropriate response. Despite a remarkable socio-economic initiatives launched by the US, NATO and ISAF, the Allied forces have limited successes in attaining general loyalty of Afghan people, especially their counterparts. Still, this delineation does not rule out the existence of a battalion within the ANA, which operates under the units of “dubious loyalty”, a serious development that can further fracture the already fragile system of coordination between the Allied forces and Afghan government beyond the 2014.
The military policies of NATO explain that without the necessary support of NATO/ISAF, the ANSF can never integrate the taught professionalism and loyalty to the “newly born” military system. By contrast, not recording the situation from an alternative vantage point, that is, the Afghan soldiers are entangled into cultural commitment, conflict of mind and a desire to remain unlimited liability on international community will even draw more reluctance and disloyalty in serving the Afghan nation. A true development of military force needs history, time, education, psychological training, a better security screening, discipline and a genuine motivation to establish a corruption free system to protect a nation born out of conflict. But, a rampant corruption of ruling Afghan elites, a very unpopular President Karzai’s regime and a word wide web of drug smuggling, with links to ANSF could only double the negative effects of “green on blue” attacks on NATO member states.
The day after the 2014 withdrawal, the geographical location of poorly committed ANSF may find a “way-out” of a lifestyle based on hierarchy and discipline. As a result of ineffective and quantity-based recruitment methods, the ANSF that feared Taliban’s return might also stand against the doctrines of future peace in Afghanistan and subsequently impact the entire region of Asia. The case of cross-border attacks on Pakistani territory from militants in Afghanistan is one very important example.
The attack on PAF Minhas airbase, Kamra on August 16, 2012 carries all the signatures of well-trained terrorists and their foreign sponsors, and it does “fit” naturally into the ideologically landscape of disbanded TTP hiding in Afghanistan. But, the architects of this type of project cannot masterfully control the “web of loyalty”, that is only based on anti-Pakistan qualification because a highly-trained professional Pak-military jealously guards its territory and strategic assets and, has the full capacity to neutralize such attacks.
Tactically, in the case of Afghanistan, multiple methods of “state-of-the art” and centralized military training under a distrust environment has managed to mobilize militia organizations which are achieving strategic legitimacy over the US/NATO/ISAF forces. Thus, rationalizing a functional strategy only in the context of Taliban infiltration may represent a myopic view of Afghan society, especially when a disciplined, independent and professional military requires an all-inclusive approach. The NATO/ISAF has remarkably failed to push out this policy agenda.
Management of “blue on green” attacks is challenging because young Afghans recruited to fight the Taliban, rather than to achieve national legitimacy about their dutifulness. Consequently, the same group of soldiers can be reappointed by the Taliban to fight the US/NATO and ISAF. This mercenary-tactic must not be surprising for the Allied forces, as most of the asymmetrical conflicts through the world have witnessed similar fall-out of consciously dividing the nations. To sum up, in order to comprehensively unify the entire Afghan National Security Forces behind the cause of peace and stability in the region, it is useful to learn a valuable lesson from Pakistani nation, which stood behind its armed forces and intelligence agencies that carried out the most complex military operations in the history of modern asymmetrical warfare (e.g. South Waziristan & Swat). The unshakeable professionalism and loyalty of soldiers have been the single most deciding factor in their victory against the militants, although the media leakages carrying unfounded stories in the Western media produced unprecedented propaganda about the intentions and strategy of Pak-military.
Overall implications of “green on blue” attacks may cause double jeopardy for NATO/ISAF’s international trainers. Culturally, afghan soldiers are largely of independent nature and hence anti-subordination (strictly in the context of present issue). In terms of decision-making, the rise in “green on blue” attacks are simply too difficult to be rejected as incidents under stressful and tactical war-fighting. The “dubious loyalty” and misunderstood facts about Afghan culture are two of the leading factors in US/NATO’s current dilemma. Non-implementation of meaningful changes and screening process can only ferment anarchy within the ANSF, an anti-stability factor that can commission further acts of international terrorism. NATO must take these acts of deliberate killing seriously.
—The author is a Denmark-based National Security Expert & Defence analyst.