Kate Clark has details on the recently completed framework for a Bilateral Security Agreement.
The agreement will guide the future of the US presence in Afghanistan, detailing the number of bases, night-raids, air assaults, detention of prisoners, provision of arms, aid and training.
The key unresolved issue for the U.S. is troop immunity from Afghan courts after 2014.
The critical decision is to be made by a convention of Afghan political and tribal factions next month.
Image by Reza Sepehri
The challenges facing Afghan civil society to overcome militarism will be daunting. Over the past few years far-reaching partnerships, arrangements and designations have sought to use military aid, training, and equipment to build up government security forces in order to define the transition period (2014 – 2024). Far fewer resources are being invested in strategies that can begin to address root causes.
Enduring Strategic Partnership (2 May 2012)
U.S. - Afghanistan
Declaration on Afghanistan (22 May 2012)
NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
US Designates Afghanistan Major Non-NATO Ally (6 July 2012)
So, what is the current number of US and Afghan forces currently deployed and funded?
The answer may surprise you.
The office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) released the most recent mandated quarterly report in July. With access to all official agencies involved with the war, it is one of the most authoritative reports available to the public.
The Special Inspector report is used to document the total number of US troops and Afghan National Security Forces. The figure for contractors comes from CENTCOM and the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. (News reports indicate that since July 12,000 US troops have been removed from Afghanistan).
Here is the breakdown
Afghanistan National Security Forces
Afghan Army 178,826
Afghan Police 151,824
Afghan Air force 6,461
Afghan Special Forces
Afghan Local Police 23,551 (Trained by US Special-Forces)
Afghan Public Protection 18,821
US Military and Contractors
US Forces 70,100
DoD Contractors 101,855
DoD Private 16,218
Total Forces: 567,656
Number of US Troops from SIGAR
Contractor numbers from CENTCOM Quarterly Contractor Census Report (DoD)
Afghan Security Forces from SIGAR
The question and challenge for Afghans is this.
What does sovereignty look like in a country where tens of thousands of foreign troops are on the ground, foreign governments pay for almost all the police and army, and 60 to 80 per cent of the government’s budget is dependent on foreign assistance?