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15/01/2003 | One third of Afghani Army soldiers have deserted

RN Staff

Up to three thousand soldiers have already deserted from the 10-thousand-soldier new National Army of Afghanistan, which is being trained by foreign instructors from the USA, France and Great Britain, the News newspaper wrote quoting the representative of the Ministry of Defense of Afghanistan General Mohammad Zahira Azimi on January 12.


He called the soldiers to return in their places of service and warned that otherwise they will be required to refund all expenses spent on their training.

General Azimi said that currently the National Army of Afganistan has 10 thousand soldiers and officers. However, according to the information from international experts, the Afghani Army has seven thousand servicemen.

The main cause of desertion is considered to be the strict discipline in the Army - for the more than twenty years of the civil war Afghan people had time to forget about it. Probably the low salary is another reason - the government provides the soldiers with uniform and pays recruits 50 dollars per month until the training period is completed, and then the soldier receives about 70 dollars per month. Although the military man receives additional 7 dollars per day for food and 60 dollars per month if his unit takes part in maneuvers or operations outside Kabul.

The process of forming National Army started in Afganistan in May, 2002. The bulk of recruits at the initial stage were the soldiers provided by field commanders from their units.

According to the News, field commanders did not want to lose their most efficient soldiers, therefore they "gave up to recruits" badly trained, lazy and undisciplined soldiers. Such persons have deserted for their houses. According to General Azimi, currently the Afgani Army is being for med on the principles of volunteering, therefore lately the desertion from the Army has stopped.

The Afgani government announce its plans to bring the Afgani Army to 70 thousand persons within two years.

At the same time, the process of disarming the units of field commanders and ethnic leaders continues. Their militants receive assistance in adjusting to peaceful life.

RIA Novosti (Rusia)


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