RealNews

Obstacles to Afghan Defense Reforms Persist

In a gold-encrusted salon at the presidential palace last week, 22 new senior Afghan military officials were silently presented to the press while Defense Minister Mohammed Fahim announced that his ministry was a “vanguard of reform” and would now be run by an ethnically balanced corps of military professionals. But as the new officials take up their duties this week, after months of pressure from international advisers and a week of intense seminars on human rights, civilian supremacy and other modern military values, experts and officials said it was unclear whether they would bring meaningful change to a powerful institution long dominated by one ethnic and political faction. The overhaul is widely viewed as the first critical piece of an ambitious plan — strongly backed by the United Nations and Western governments — to depoliticize the Afghan armed forces, disarm and demobilize thousands of militiamen loyal to regional bosses and accelerate the creation of a foreign-trained, multiethnic national army. The disarmament program got underway this week in the far northern province of Kunduz. Full Story

OODA Analyst

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