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What Happens in the Afghanistan Army after the US leaves? (not a good thing)

Updated on November 23, 2011

What happened in Nangalam, Afghanistan, in the Pech Valley, along the Pakistan border, you probably can guess even before I go on. But, here it goes.............

As part of the US withdrawal, US troops have been handing over key bases to the Afghan Army. The Nangalam base was one of them that US troops had held for a long time. It is a key base in the area. Many months ago, it was handed over, in total, to Afghan army and security forces. The US 35th Infantry moves to a new position some 20 miles away in the valley.

What happened next? You just have to ask!

For the first few weeks, it seemed like all the training had paid off, but then, the base commander,Lt. Col. Ismatullah, went AWOL. The next commander in charge thought the former was in cahoots with the Taliban and ordered his men not to fire on Taliban passing the base. This led to rumors among the men that the commander of the base was also pro-Taliban and they feared the gates to the base would be opened.

And the Taliban did come in pickup trucks with mounted machine guns down from the mountains that surround the base. They freely cruised the streets of the town as if they owned it. They met with the elders of the town and convinced them with the usual threats and promises to get their cooperation. Since the soldiers are not Pashtun, the tribal loyalty between the Taliban and elders, which are Pashtun, was much tighter than with the Afghan army there to protect them. The AWOL of the base commander literally destroyed the Afghan soldiers morale. Unlike US troops, they did not just pick up the mission and try to accomplish it. They simply did nothing. Soon, word got out that the once base held by US troops was now held by Afghan troops, this is when the faucet opened and all kinds of terrorists and taliban entered into the key valley.

The odd thing was that the base was not attacked, just bypassed by insurgents. It was as if the Taliban did not even think it was worth their time to attack and waste ammo! Soon, logistic issues came,like food, ammo and water. The Afghan army in the base was no better than prisoners in a jail. They were afraid to leave, let alone fire at the enemy! No, this is not Vietnam, although, history is repeating.

Soon, the Afghan soldiers there were fed up and started imploding and destroying the base from within. They stripped the plumbing, well pumps, generators. Some sold generators to the enemy and ended up in Pakistan. Some shitted in the offices. If a soldier pointed to his superior that an officer was with a taliban, he was told it was none of their business! One company statistics reveals: out of 130 men, 100 deserted, 3 KIA, 6 WIA. Leaving about 20 to fight, if willing.

The Afghan 2nd Brigade HQ, some 45 miles away, had no clue this was happening. It did not find out until a full month later. Some 300 new soldiers were sent to beef up the losses, but at least 50% of them also deserted within weeks. It was not until four months later that US troops returned to reclaim their old post.


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    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      I agree, totally.

    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      The US could have won in Vietnam, but lacked will power. Ditto Afghanistan. You can't fight a war in Asia with one arm tied behind the back. Afghanistan is not invincible. Alexander conquered it and much later the Sikh general Hari Singh Nalwa was a terror there.

      Loss of will power and focus is the key to defeat. You can't leave Afghanistan. You have to fight to the end and that includes sorting out Pakistan which hunts with the hound and runs with the hare.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Be safe, Greg.

    • profile image

      Greg K. 

      6 years ago

      I am a mechanic in Afghanistan. While I don't leave the base, I talk to soldiers all the time about what goes on outside the wire. This place is hopeless. We are wasting our time. It's like trying to kill off all the cockroaches in FL. It can't be done. It's like we're trying to do what we did in WWII, rebuild the place we destroyed. It doesn't work like that here. ANA soldiers are stoned while on mission, fight among themselves, very uneducated, and (IMO) just shy of being retarded. Same story with Iraq. In fact, I think we were better off with Sadam Huessain...unfortunately. At least he ruled with an iron fist. But, it's a great paycheck and will set me up for the rest of my life. I've been working over here (and Iraq) for almost 5 years, getting ready for 6. As long as the US Dollar holds up, I should be good for many years to come.

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      6 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Great hub. We, indeed, are in very perilous times!

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks, but pretty sad situation.

    • moiragallaga profile image

      Moira Garcia Gallaga 

      6 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      History is repeating itself indeed. Nice article Perrya, shows the challenges and difficulties of the current situation. There are no easy solutions here.


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