Afghan National Army

The Afghan National Army (ANA) is the main branch of the military of Afghanistan, which is responsible for land-based military operations and ground warfare to defend the state against foreign military incursions. It is under the Ministry of Defense in Kabul and is being trained by NATO alliance. The ANA is divided into six regional Corps, with about 200,000 active troops as of June 2012. The current Chief of Staff of the Afghan National Army is Lt. Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi.

Afghanistan's army traces its roots to the early 18th-century when the Hotaki dynasty was established in Kandahar followed by Ahmad Shah Durrani's rise to power. It was reorganized in 1880 during Emir Abdur Rahman Khan's reign. During World War I and World War II, Afghanistan remained a neutral state. From the 1960s to the early 1990s, the Afghan army was equipped by the Soviet Union. By 1992, the army fragmented into regional militias under various local warlords. This was followed by the Taliban government in the mid 1990s, which was minimally supported by the Pakistani Armed Force. After the end of the Taliban rule in late 2001, the new Afghan National Army was formed with the help of US-led NATO forces.

To thwart and dissolve anti-government militant groups, the Karzai administration began offering cash and vocational training to encourage members to join the nation's security forces. NATO is expanding the Afghan armed forces to about 260,000 active personnel by 2015, a move supported and funded primarily by the United States Department of Defense. There were more than 4,000 American military trainers in late 2009 and additional numbers from other NATO member states, providing advanced warfare training to the Afghan armed forces and police. The majority of training of the ANA is to be undertaken in the newly established Afghan National Security University (AFNS). There are three distinct parts to the University: the National Military Academy (NMA), the Afghan National Army Officer Academy and the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Academy.

The ANA capabilities are increasing. The force has medical first responders, a growing aviation capacity, engineers, and logisticians. It is focused on professional development for both officers and enlisted soldiers. It maintains an effective kinetic special operations component and has recently added and began deploying more than 650 Mobile Strike Force Vehicles complete with trained mechanics and operators.

Read more about Afghan National ArmyHistory, Current Status, Training, Operations, Equipment, Future

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