BiH in ISAF Mission in Afghanistan

{gallery}newsletters/10/3/1{/gallery}At a press conference held in Brussels on September 28, NATO’s Training Mission commander, Lieutenant-General William Caldwell, talked to the press about the importance of training Afghan national security forces. He insisted on the need for additional, specialized trainers to hasten the build-up of a self-sufficient and self-sustaining national security force in time for the transition to an Afghan lead, scheduled to start in early 2011. To aid in this process, instructors from the BiH Armed Forces are getting ready to leave for Afghanistan.

“We have made tremendous progress since NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan (NTM-A) was created last November,” LtGen Caldwell said at the conference. “Thanks to the all-out efforts of ISAF troop-contributing nations, the number of NTM-A trainers has tripled – to 3,500 personnel – in only ten months“.

Seizing the moment

The increased number of instructors has resulted in a higher number of trained Afghan soldiers and policemen. “Army and police forces are now in a phase where priority is no longer about generating quantity but quality,” LtGen Caldwell said.

The most important task at the moment is to seize the momentum, and LtGen Caldwell has pointed out three other top priorities – specializing the police, the air force, and medical staff.

The BiH Presidency approved the sending of our instructors to the ISAF Mission, and by doing this, our country responded to the appeal that the NATO General Secretary sent to ISAF member countries. This appeal was for member states to provide instructors with the capacity to train local Afghan soldiers and policemen in time for the pending, near future transfer of responsibilities from international forces to Afghan security forces. The BiH Armed Forces instructors will train at one of the NATO schools in Afghanistan. Once the country which will be the carrier of these activities is chosen, necessary procedures within BiH institutions will need to be completed in order for instructors to be sent from here to Afghanistan.

However, the training process is not unburdened by problems. The biggest ones are lack of leadership skills and the widespread illiteracy of Afghan troops, as well as their exposure to constant enemy attack. By increasing the number of trainers, adequately responding to future challenges in the specialization of Afghan army and police forces will be made possible. Failure to provide necessary means by May 2011 could have negative consequences upon the transition process, and thus delay the moment when Afghanistan is able to take over the responsibility for its future.


Infantry unit to be sent soon

 The BiH Presidency has decided on multiple occasions in 2010 to engage additional troops in Afghanistan. Engagement of ten instructors within the ISAF mission was approved on March 10. On April 14, deployment was approved of an infantry unit (45 soldiers in one rotation,) as part of the ISAF mission security staff within the Danish contingent in the Regional Command South. After completion of all necessary procedures in the country and acquiring a certificate issued by the Danish Armed Forces, the BiH infantry unit will be sent to Afghanistan by the end of this month..

On June 9 of this year, the Presidency approved deployment of another four noncommissioned officers. These NCOs are to join the German contingent within the ISAF. The opinion gathering procedure within the BiH Council of Ministers, and the process of approval from the BiH Parliament, are ongoing. It is expected that these four officers will join the Mission early next year.


Atlantic Initiative Team