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Security officials reject Gen. Campbell’s statement on troops’ desertion

By Akhtar M. Nikzd-KABUL: The Ministry of Defense rejected the statement of the Resolute Support Mission and the U.S. Forces commander in Afghanistan, General John F. Campbell, about growing desertion cases in Afghan army and police force.

General John F. Campbell, the U.S. Forces commander in Afghanistan, claimed that at least 4,000 Afghan security services members are deserting their posts every month including those who are killed or injured.

Campbell criticized senior security officials in Afghanistan and said the main reason for troops’ abandonment was because of lack of a proper management of army and police personnel in the country.

But the Afghan Ministry of Defense indirectly rejected the allegations and stressed that Afghan security forces are supported by public and they would fight seriously against “sworn enemies” of the nation.

Deputy Spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, Dawlat Waziri, said that it is impossible that every month 4,000 Afghan policemen and troops desert their posts and watch conflict from their homes.

He said that it is true that every month Afghan National Army (ANA) suffers casualties while protecting lives and properties of public but they do not leave their military services.

“We have absent soldiers, casualties and the soldiers that complete their military service. However, they are not more than two thousands. On the other hand these are not regular figures, but it doesn’t mean that they all leave security forces or are injured,” he said.

He added that every month the ministry of defense recruits new people to fill the gap and to support security force against militants.

The deputy spokesman said that morale of the security forces was high and inflicted heavy casualties on the Taliban insurgents.

Ministry of Interior’s spokesman, Sidiqi Sidiqi, said that people were supporting security forces and youth are ready to join the armed forces and defend the country.

“About 157,000 national policemen [Afghan National Police] and 30,000 local policemen [Afghan Local Police] are fighting against anti-government elements. Our recruitment is ten times higher than our casualties. Therefore, the situation is improving compared to the past,” he said.

Likewise, security analysts also do not agree with General John F. Campbell and term his statistics as “exaggerated”.

Jawid Kohistani, an analyst, said that there are many challenges in military services such as corruption, lack of good management, poor treatment by commanders and no encouragement.

“However, it does not mean that security personnel are deserting posts. Afghans never turn their back on jobs,” he said.

He blamed the government for the confusion, saying the defense ministry is run by a caretaker for nearly a year.

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