On the documentary concerning the Afghan National Army.
Earlier on Sunday the 25th of May 2014 I stumbled across a documentary that talked about the current state of the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces and their ability to handle the fighting season against the insurgents. The documentary seemed to want to show some sort of instability, and yet the reporters in question were met by rather calm villagers and soldiers who were – for the most part – modestly equipped to tackle most situations.
Watching the documentary, it was interesting to note the differences in military operational capabilities from that of the Canadian Forces, or the more commonly known US forces in that the ANA did not have a reserve fleet of vehicles to step in when their present fleet was damaged by a hail storm. Indeed the film skips ahead to the summer months where it is shown that the personnel in the ANA were still using the trucks that were previously damaged from the hail storm in question.
The reporter seemed to want to set a tone of despair, and yet despite the “lack of night-vision equipment” and other more advanced pieces of kit, the ANA were coping rather well to their changing situation. Indeed the reporter should have probably known that the US forces would take their gear with them when they withdraw as it is very expensive to procure in the first place: something a lot of journalists tend to overlook. The thing is when the US military withdraws from a operations area, they will either sell off some of the equipment to lessen the load (and to get rid of phased out or obsolete pieces of kit), or take it back with them. Indeed one has to understand that the equipment is still “money,” and should be treated as such. Nothing on this earth is free ladies and gentlemen; even the simple task of living, when you factor out everything and drop a person down to hunting and gathering, “costs” as it takes trees to build homes, animals and berries to feed a person, and tools which come from metal and wood to conduct daily operations.
While some parts of the documentary seemed to be guided by the officials in charge of the local forces, it seems for the most part that Afghanistan as a whole is reaching a point where the fighting is slowing down in intensity and could see minor attacks become the norm whereas actual raids or “proper guerrilla attacks” disappear from the scene altogether. Remember that not all resistance movements are successful, and not every single rebel fighter has the will to fight for so long, away from home and so forth. Ideology can only do so much to motivate a man to fight, and afterwards it becomes a difficult task when there are no financial benefits or real tangible rewards available to a soldier such as pension, pay, vacation time and so on.
While the withdrawal of foreign military forces from Afghanistan marks the end of the mission, and beginning of the time when the ANA and the Afghan National Police take center stage, there is hope that they will be able to conduct operations in a fashion that is to bring some degree of order and stability to the region. After all they had for the last ten years some of the finest trainers and instructors on the face of the earth to teach them how to soldier. According to the documentary, 2014 – this year – is supposed to show just how stable Afghanistan really is; sounds like a wager on the journalist’s end.
Ultimately the makers of the documentary were aiming to depict a specific scene – that NATO had failed miserably in their mission in Afghanistan (at least from the attitude I saw on camera in part by the reporters and their crews). This lack of confidence is unfounded, and as such these people need to re-think what they do with their journalistic talents. Instead of trying to shame the part of the world that has given them education, shelter, safe harbour, rights and so on, they should try and show a story from a neutral standpoint – the so-called “raw” footage as it is more commonly known. Perhaps then they can actually do something worthwhile, rather than go around on a wild goose chase, seeking leads that “bleed.” Unfortunately the old saying is true: “if it bleeds, it leads.” Pity.