Departure of U.S. Contractors Poses Myriad Problems for Afghan Military

These points, basic to the survival of the Afghan nationwide safety forces as soon as the U.S. navy withdraws, are nonetheless being hashed out. That they’re nonetheless being addressed even because the final U.S. troops are getting ready to go away speaks to the years of disconnect between the Pentagon and a succession of presidents, all of whom, at one level or one other, sought a extra decreased American presence within the nation than officers within the navy and the Defense Department.

How to cope with the contractors is only one of a quantity of urgent issues created by the speedy withdrawal of American troops. The C.I.A. is struggling to ensure that it could collect intelligence about potential threats from Afghanistan as soon as the U.S. navy presence ends.

The Pentagon remains to be weighing the way it will strike terrorist teams like Al Qaeda from afar as soon as it now not has troops or warplanes in Afghanistan. And the administration has yet to strike deals to position troops in any nearby nations for counterterrorism operations.

The Afghan authorities has at all times relied closely on overseas contractors and trainers. As of this spring, there have been over 18,000 Defense Department contractors in Afghanistan, together with 6,000 Americans, 5,000 Afghans and seven,000 from different nations, 40 p.c of whom are accountable for logistics, upkeep or coaching duties, based on John F. Sopko, the particular inspector normal for Afghanistan reconstruction.

The Afghan safety forces depend on these contractors to take care of their gear, handle provide chains and prepare their navy and police to function the superior gear that the United States has purchased for them.

For occasion, Mr. Sopko spoke of the challenges the Afghans were facing with upkeep work throughout a digital discussion board this yr. As of December, he stated, the Afghan National Army was finishing just below 20 p.c of its personal upkeep work orders, properly beneath the objective of 80 p.c that had been set, and the 51 p.c that they accomplished in 2018. The Afghan National Police carried out solely 12 p.c of its personal upkeep work towards a goal of 35 p.c.

Since 2010, the Defense Department has appropriated over $8.5 billion to develop a succesful and sustainable Afghan Air Force and its particular mission wing, however American policymakers and commanders have at all times recognized that each would wish continued, costly logistics help from contractors for plane upkeep and maintainer coaching, the inspector general’s office concluded in a report in February.

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