Afghanistan: January 11, 2004

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The Afghan National Army (ANA) is an army in name, but in the minds of most members, it's another warlord militia. That means most of the troops treat the job the way they do when working as a gunman for a warlord. As a result, about 30 percent of the troops in the ANA have quit and gone home. This casual attitude towards military service made it possible for fewer than 300 American Special Forces and CIA agents, a few bombers overhead and some Afghan allies to overthrow the Taliban in less than two months. Changing the mindset of the average Afghan will take a bit longer. Sticking with a job for someone who is not a family or tribal elder is not obligatory. Compared to normal Afghan fighting, which emphasized ambush and looting, operating as a soldier seems more dangerous. It's safer and more lucrative to be a gunman for a warlord, and many Afghan soldiers have gone back to that.

 

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