By Scott Taylor
On May 25, NATO will host a heads of state summit in Brussels, and at the top of the agenda list will be the war in Afghanistan. The simple truth is that the NATO-trained and -equipped Afghan National Security Forces are losing the war to a resurgent Taliban.
That right folks, after 16 years of being trained, mentored and molded by NATO forces, including Canadians up until 2014, the Afghans need an urgent infusion of more NATO troops or else the Taliban is poised to regain control.
The senior NATO commanders will argue to the heads of state – including Canada’s own Prime Minister Trudeau — that if we, as member states, don’t send reinforcements to Afghanistan, then all of the progress made towards democracy will be lost.
Generals reason that we owe it to all of those NATO soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice to the Afghan cause, including 158 Canadian soldiers killed, to once again pony up more soldiers, more money and more weapons to shore up the government in Kabul.
This would of course be the pack of murderous thugs and crooks headed by the dual leadership of President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, which is considered to be one of the most corrupt regimes on the planet. So much for our success in terms of foisting democracy upon the people of Afghanistan.
For those who care to recall, the 2014 presidential election was so rife with corruption and voter fraud that no clear winner could even be determined. Thus it was a compromise solution that led to the creation of a national CEO position, which would allow Abdullah Abdullah to share power equally with Ashraf Ghani.
Trained, equipped and paid by NATO, the Afghan forces took the lead role in the combat mission against the Taliban in 2014. However, since then they have suffered staggering losses, which have resulted in plunging morale, wide-scale desertions and even wholesale defections to the Taliban.
The Afghan National Security Forces are themselves corrupt and inefficient, with no clear-cut motivation to prop up their corrupt, inefficient West- installed leaders.
One of the biggest problems Afghan commanders are facing is what are known as ‘ghost soldiers.’ These are not sinister unearthly spectres, but Afghan soldiers which are on the books collecting pay and rations but who simply do not exist. There have been occasions when Afghan forces were called upon to resist a Taliban attack and, instead of the paper strength Kandak (a battalion of approximately 900 soldiers), only a handful of demoralized troops were actually available for combat.
It is estimated that the resurgent Taliban have reclaimed approximately 40 per cent of Afghan territory and one can only imagine what the situation would be like were it not for the continued presence of 9,000 U.S. troops and an additional 4,000 NATO soldiers.
Despite their so-called ‘train and assist’ mandate, U.S. Special Forces have often been called in to bolster the Afghan National Security Forces to prevent their complete collapse in combat. One must also add to this mix the overwhelming air armada the U.S. has on station to support operations as well as their extensive fleet of armed unmanned aerial vehicles.
At the upcoming summit in Brussels, the NATO commanders will claim that they need member states to pony up more resources, with the excuse that creating an Afghan army that is self-sufficient takes time.
Folks, a reality check will show that we have been training Afghans for longer than the First and Second World War combined. It is not about training more recruits, it is about motivating them to fight. The Taliban are drawn from the same talent pool as the Afghan Security Forces and, without the benefit of international monitoring and the provision of modern weaponry, have shown themselves to be formidable fighters.
As such, unless there is a sweeping proposal to remove the current Kabul regime and install an interim administration with a clearly defined anti-corruption mandate, Canada should flatly refuse NATO’s request to return to Afghanistan. Remember that Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting a different result.
Let’s stop the insanity.