Military of Afghanistan

Military of Afghanistan

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The military of Afghanistan is composed of the Afghan National Army
Afghan National Army
The Afghan National Army is a service branch of the military of Afghanistan, which is currently trained by the coalition forces to ultimately take the role in land-based military operations in Afghanistan. , the Afghan National Army is divided into seven regional Corps. The strength of the Afghan...

 and the Afghan National Army Air Force (formerly the Afghan Air Force
Afghan Air Force
The Afghan Air Force , formerly the Afghan National Army Air Corps and Afghan National Army Air Force , is one of seven "corps" of the military of Afghanistan, responsible for air defense and air warfare. It was officially established in 1924 and for most of its history has functioned as a small...

). Being a landlocked country, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 has no navy
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

, and the private security forces who are sometimes seen wearing military uniforms are not part of Afghanistan's military. The President of Afghanistan
President of Afghanistan
Afghanistan has only been a republic between 1973 and 1992 and from 2001 onwards. Before 1973, it was a monarchy that was governed by a variety of kings, emirs or shahs...

 is the commander-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the military, acting through the Ministry of Defense that is headed by General
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

 Abdul Rahim Wardak. The National Military Command Center in Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 serves as the headquarters of the Afghan armed forces, which currently has around 164,000 active soldiers, with plans to reach 260,000 by 2015.

The Afghan military was first formed in 1709 when the Hotaki dynasty was established in Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 followed by the Durrani Empire
Durrani Empire
The Durrani Empire was a Pashtun dynasty centered in Afghanistan and included northeastern Iran, the Kashmir region, the modern state of Pakistan, and northwestern India. It was established at Kandahar in 1747 by Ahmad Shah Durrani, an Afghan military commander under Nader Shah of Persia and chief...

. The Afghan armed forces fought many wars with Persia
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

 and India
Maratha Empire
The Maratha Empire or the Maratha Confederacy was an Indian imperial power that existed from 1674 to 1818. At its peak, the empire covered much of South Asia, encompassing a territory of over 2.8 million km²....

 from the 18th to the 19th century. The military of the country was re-organized by the British
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 in 1880, when the country was ruled by Amir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

 Abdur Rahman Khan
Abdur Rahman Khan
Abdur Rahman Khan was Emir of Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901.The third son of Mohammad Afzal Khan, and grandson of Dost Mohammad Khan, Abdur Rahman Khan was considered a strong ruler who re-established the writ of the Afghan government in Kabul after the disarray that followed the second...

. It was modernized during King Amanullah Khan
Amanullah Khan
Amanullah Khan was the King of the Emirate of Afghanistan from 1919 to 1929, first as Amir and after 1926 as Shah. He led Afghanistan to independence over its foreign affairs from the United Kingdom, and his rule was marked by dramatic political and social change...

's rule in the early 20th century, and upgraded during King Zahir Shah
Mohammed Zahir Shah
Mohammed Zahir Shah was the last King of Afghanistan, reigning for four decades, from 1933 until he was ousted by a coup in 1973...

's forty year rule. From 1978 to 1992, the Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

-backed Afghan army fought with multi-national mujahideen
Mujahideen
Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

 groups who were being funded by the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 while trained by the Pakistani Armed Forces. After President
President of Afghanistan
Afghanistan has only been a republic between 1973 and 1992 and from 2001 onwards. Before 1973, it was a monarchy that was governed by a variety of kings, emirs or shahs...

 Najibullah
Mohammad Najibullah
Mohammad Najibullah Ahmadzai , originally merely Najibullah, was the fourth and last President of the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. He is also considered the second President of the Republic of Afghanistan.-Early years:Najibullah was born in August 1947 to the Ahmadzai...

's resignation in 1992 and the end of Soviet support, the military dissolved into portions controlled by different warlord factions and the mujahideen took control over the government. This era was followed by the rise of the Pakistan-backed Taliban, who established a military force on the basis of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

 law.

Following the US-led invasion and the removal of the Taliban government
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was founded in 1996 when the Taliban began their rule of Afghanistan and ended with their fall from power in 2001...

 in late 2001, the military of Afghanistan is being rebuilt and reformed by NATO military alliance, mainly by the United States armed forces
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

. Despite early problems with recruitment and training, it is becoming effective in fighting against the Taliban insurgency
Taliban insurgency
The Taliban insurgency took root shortly after the group's fall from power following the 2001 war in Afghanistan. The Taliban continue to attack Afghan, U.S., and other ISAF troops and many terrorist incidents attributable to them have been registered. The war has also spread over the southern and...

. As of 2011, it is slowly becoming able to operate independently from US-led NATO forces
International Security Assistance Force
The International Security Assistance Force is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on 20 December 2001 by Resolution 1386 as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement...

. The administration of U.S. President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 announced in 2009 that it would increase the number of Afghan troops and police
Afghan National Police
The Afghan National Police - ANP - is the primary national police force in Afghanistan. It serves as a single law enforcement agency all across the country. The Afghan police force was first created with the establishment of the Afghan nation in the early 18th century...

 to 400,000 active units. It also announced plans to spend $1.3 billion on building several military bases for the Afghan army. This includes an upgrade of more than $100 million to Bagram Air Base
Bagram Air Base
Bagram Airfield, also referred to as Bagram Air Base, is a militarized airport and housing complex that is located next to the ancient city of Bagram, southeast of Charikar in Parwan province of Afghanistan. The base is run by a US Army division headed by a major general. A large part of the base,...

, the largest military base in the country, as well as a new $70 million base in Farah
Farah, Afghanistan
Farah is a city in western Afghanistan, situated at 650 m altitude, and located on the Farah River. It is the capital of Farah Province, and has a population of approximately 109,409....

 near the border with Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. In the meantime, the Afghan military began seeking latest fighter aircraft
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

 and other advanced weapons."

History



Prior to the 18th century, Afghans have served in the militaries of the Ghaznavids (963–1187), Ghurids (1148–1215), Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate
The Delhi Sultanate is a term used to cover five short-lived, Delhi based kingdoms or sultanates, of Turkic origin in medieval India. The sultanates ruled from Delhi between 1206 and 1526, when the last was replaced by the Mughal dynasty...

 (1206–1527) and the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 (1526–1858) as well as in the army of the Persian Empire
Afsharid dynasty
The Afsharids were members of an Iranian dynasty of Turkmen origin from Khorasan who ruled Persia in the 18th century. The dynasty was founded in 1736 by the military commander Nader Shah who deposed the last member of the Safavid dynasty and proclaimed himself King of Iran. During Nader's reign,...

. However, the current Afghan military dates back to when the Pashtun
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

 Hotaki dynasty rose to power in Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 and decisively defeated the Persian
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 Safavid Empire
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

 at the Battle of Gulnabad
Battle of Gulnabad
The Battle of Gulnabad was fought between the military forces from Afghanistan and the army of the Persian Safavid Empire. The battle resulted in Afghanistan, under Shah Mahmud, winning and controlling much of Persia. Persian Shah Husayn was taken captive during the battle...

 in 1722.
When the Durrani Afghan Empire
Durrani Empire
The Durrani Empire was a Pashtun dynasty centered in Afghanistan and included northeastern Iran, the Kashmir region, the modern state of Pakistan, and northwestern India. It was established at Kandahar in 1747 by Ahmad Shah Durrani, an Afghan military commander under Nader Shah of Persia and chief...

 was created by Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani , also known as Ahmad Shāh Abdālī and born as Ahmad Khān, was the founder of the Durrani Empire in 1747 and is regarded by many to be the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan.Ahmad Khan enlisted as a young soldier in the military of the Afsharid kingdom and quickly rose...

 in 1747, his military was involved in several wars with India and Persia during the 18th to the 19th century. One of the famous battles was the 1761 Battle of Panipat in which the Afghans decisively defeated the Indian Maratha Empire
Maratha Empire
The Maratha Empire or the Maratha Confederacy was an Indian imperial power that existed from 1674 to 1818. At its peak, the empire covered much of South Asia, encompassing a territory of over 2.8 million km²....

. During the First Anglo-Afghan War
First Anglo-Afghan War
The First Anglo-Afghan War was fought between British India and Afghanistan from 1839 to 1842. It was one of the first major conflicts during the Great Game, the 19th century competition for power and influence in Central Asia between the United Kingdom and Russia, and also marked one of the worst...

, British India
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 invaded Afghanistan in 1838 and the two nations fought until the British were forced to withdraw in 1842.
The first organized army of Afghanistan (in the modern sense) was established after the Second Anglo-Afghan War
Second Anglo-Afghan War
The Second Anglo-Afghan War was fought between the United Kingdom and Afghanistan from 1878 to 1880, when the nation was ruled by Sher Ali Khan of the Barakzai dynasty, the son of former Emir Dost Mohammad Khan. This was the second time British India invaded Afghanistan. The war ended in a manner...

 in 1880 when the nation was ruled by Emir Abdur Rahman Khan
Abdur Rahman Khan
Abdur Rahman Khan was Emir of Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901.The third son of Mohammad Afzal Khan, and grandson of Dost Mohammad Khan, Abdur Rahman Khan was considered a strong ruler who re-established the writ of the Afghan government in Kabul after the disarray that followed the second...

. Traditionally, Afghan governments relied on three military institutions: the regular army, tribal levies, and community militias. The regular army was sustained by the state and commanded by government leaders. The tribal or regional levies - irregular forces - had part-time soldiers provided by tribal or regional chieftains. The chiefs received tax breaks, land ownership, cash payments, or other privileges in return. The community militia included all available able-bodied members of the community, mobilized to fight, probably only in exceptional circumstances, for common causes under community leaders. Combining these three institutions created a formidable force whose components supplemented each others strengths and minimized their weaknesses.
After the war ended, the reforming monarch did not see the need for a large army, instead deciding to rely on Afghanistan's historical martial qualities. This resulted in neglect, cutbacks, recruitment problems, and finally an army unable to quell the 1929 up-rising that cost him his throne. However, under his reign, the small Afghan Air Force
Afghan Air Force
The Afghan Air Force , formerly the Afghan National Army Air Corps and Afghan National Army Air Force , is one of seven "corps" of the military of Afghanistan, responsible for air defense and air warfare. It was officially established in 1924 and for most of its history has functioned as a small...

 was formed in 1924. The military of Afghanistan was reconstructed and improved during King Zahir Shah
Mohammed Zahir Shah
Mohammed Zahir Shah was the last King of Afghanistan, reigning for four decades, from 1933 until he was ousted by a coup in 1973...

's reign, which reached a strength of 70,000 in 1933. Following the Second World War, the Soviet Union offered assistance to the Afghan government where the United States did not, and by the 1960s, Soviet assistance started to improve the structure, armament, training, and command and control arrangements for the military. The military reached a strength of 98,000 (90,000 army and 8,000 air force) by this period.

After the exile of King Zahir Shah in 1973, President
President of Afghanistan
Afghanistan has only been a republic between 1973 and 1992 and from 2001 onwards. Before 1973, it was a monarchy that was governed by a variety of kings, emirs or shahs...

 Daud Khan
Mohammed Daoud Khan
Sardar Mohammed Daoud Khan or Daud Khan was Prime Minister of Afghanistan from 1953 to 1963 and later becoming the President of Afghanistan...

 forged stronger ties with the Soviets by signing two highly controversial military aid packages for his nation in 1973 and 1975. For three years, Afghan armed forces and police officers received advanced soviet weapons, as well as training by the KGB
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 and Soviet commandos. Due to problems with local political parties in his country, President Daud Khan decided to distance himself from the Soviets in 1976. He made Afghanistan's ties closer to the broader Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 and the United States instead.

From 1977 to 1978 the Afghan armed forces conduced joint military training with the Military of Egypt
Military of Egypt
The Egyptian Armed Forces are the largest in Africa, and the Arab World, and is the tenth largest in the world, consisting of the Egyptian Army, Egyptian Navy, Egyptian Air Force and Egyptian Air Defense Command....

. In April 1978 there was a coup, known as the Saur Revolution
Saur Revolution
The Saur Revolution is the name given to the Communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan takeover of political power from the government of Afghanistan on 28 April 1978. The word 'Saur', i.e...

, orchestrated by the Soviets and members of the government loyal to the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA)
People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan
The People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan was a communist party established on the 1 January 1965. While a minority, the party helped former president of Afghanistan, Mohammed Daoud Khan, to overthrow his cousin, Mohammed Zahir Shah, and established Daoud's Republic of Afghanistan...

. This led to a full-scale Soviet invasion, led by the 40th Army
40th Army (Soviet Union)
The 40th Army of the Soviet Union's Red Army was an army-level command active from 1941 to 1945 and then again from 1979 to circa 1990.It was first formed, after Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, had commenced, from elements of the 26th and 37th Armies under the command...

 and the Airborne Forces in December 1979.

Throughout the 1980s, the military of Afghanistan was heavily involved in fighting against the mujaheddin rebel groups who were largely funded by the United States and trained by the Pakistani Armed Forces. The rebel groups were fighting to force the Soviet Union to withdraw from Afghanistan as well as to remove the Soviet-backed government of President Mohammad Najibullah
Mohammad Najibullah
Mohammad Najibullah Ahmadzai , originally merely Najibullah, was the fourth and last President of the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. He is also considered the second President of the Republic of Afghanistan.-Early years:Najibullah was born in August 1947 to the Ahmadzai...

.

The armed forces' total strength in 1985 according to the Afghan government was around 47,000, but it was believed to be lower by other sources. In 1981 the total strength of the army was around 85,000 troops according to The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

. The army
Afghan National Army
The Afghan National Army is a service branch of the military of Afghanistan, which is currently trained by the coalition forces to ultimately take the role in land-based military operations in Afghanistan. , the Afghan National Army is divided into seven regional Corps. The strength of the Afghan...

 had around 35-40,000 soldiers, who was mostly conscripts, the air force had around 7,000 soldiers and if put together all military personnel
Military personnel
Military personnel is a blanket term used to refer to members of any armed force. Usually, military personnel are divided into branches of service roughly defined by certain circumstances of the deployment of the personnel. Those who serve in a typical large land force are soldiers, making up an...

 in 1984, the total strength of the Afghan military was around 87,000 thousand in 1984.
Following the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan was a government of Afghanistan between 1978 and 1992. It was both ideologically close to and economically dependent on the Soviet Union, and was a major belligerent of the Afghan Civil War.- Saur Revolution :...

 continued to deal with attacks from the Mujaheddin. For several years the government army
Afghan National Army
The Afghan National Army is a service branch of the military of Afghanistan, which is currently trained by the coalition forces to ultimately take the role in land-based military operations in Afghanistan. , the Afghan National Army is divided into seven regional Corps. The strength of the Afghan...

 had actually increased their effectiveness past levels ever achieved during the Soviet military presence. But the government was dealt a major blow when Abdul Rashid Dostum
Abdul Rashid Dostum
Abdul Rashid Dostum is a former pro-Soviet fighter during the Soviet war in Afghanistan and is considered by many to be the leader of Afghanistan's Uzbek community and the party Junbish-e Milli-yi Islami-yi Afghanistan...

, a leading general, switched allegiances to the Mujahideen
Mujahideen
Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

 in 1992 and together they captured the city of Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

.

By 1992 the national army fragmented into regional militias under local warlords because of the fall of the Soviet Union which stopped supplying the army and later in 1992 when the Afghan government lost power and the country went into a state of anarchy
Anarchy
Anarchy , has more than one colloquial definition. In the United States, the term "anarchy" typically is meant to refer to a society which lacks publicly recognized government or violently enforced political authority...

. When the Taliban took power in 1996, they had no need for the Afghan Military because they had their own armed force. After the removal of the Taliban in late 2001 by the American led NATO operation, the new Afghan National Army was re-established.

After the fall of Najibullah's regime in 1992, private militias were formed amongst the mujahideen rebel groups which also included former army and air force personnel. They received logistics
Logistics
Logistics is the management of the flow of goods between the point of origin and the point of destination in order to meet the requirements of customers or corporations. Logistics involves the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material handling, and packaging, and...

 support from foreign powers including Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

Current organization


The armed forces of Afghanistan is presently composed of the Afghan National Army
Afghan National Army
The Afghan National Army is a service branch of the military of Afghanistan, which is currently trained by the coalition forces to ultimately take the role in land-based military operations in Afghanistan. , the Afghan National Army is divided into seven regional Corps. The strength of the Afghan...

 and the Afghan National Air Force (formerly the Afghan Air Force), which included the Afghan commandos and speciall forces. The Afghan military is currently being trained by the United States and other NATO member states to ultimately take the lead in military operation
Military operation
Military operation is the coordinated military actions of a state in response to a developing situation. These actions are designed as a military plan to resolve the situation in the state's favor. Operations may be of combat or non-combat types, and are referred to by a code name for the purpose...

s in Afghanistan so they can secure the country when the western nations withdraw.

The Afghan Air Force was very significant before and during the Soviet intervention, but by the time of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

, the number of aircraft available was minimal. The United States and its allies quickly eliminated any remaining strength or ability of the Taliban to operate aircraft. With the occupation of airbases by American forces it became clear how destitute the air force had been since the withdrawal of the Soviet Union. Most aircraft were only remnants rusting away for a decade or more. Many others were relocated to neighboring countries for storage purposes. The National Air Corps was reduced to a very small force while the country was torn by civil war. It is currently being rebuilt and modernized by the US-led multinational Combined Air Power Transition Force of the US-led international Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan (CSTC-A)
Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan
The Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan is a multinational military formation. Its primary role is the training and development of Afghan security forces like the Afghan National Army. Its headquarters is at Camp Eggers, Kabul...

.

After the removal of the Taliban government
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was founded in 1996 when the Taliban began their rule of Afghanistan and ended with their fall from power in 2001...

 and its replacement by the current government of Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai, GCMG is the 12th and current President of Afghanistan, taking office on 7 December 2004. He became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001...

, there has been significant progress toward revitalization of the national military, with two official branches established. The Afghan National Army
Afghan National Army
The Afghan National Army is a service branch of the military of Afghanistan, which is currently trained by the coalition forces to ultimately take the role in land-based military operations in Afghanistan. , the Afghan National Army is divided into seven regional Corps. The strength of the Afghan...

 and Afghan Air Force are under control of the Afghan Ministry of Defense in Kabul, which forms the basic military force.
By July 2005, more than 60,000 former militiamen from around the country have been disarmed. All heavy weapons from Panjshir
Panjshir Province
Panjshir is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. Containing the Panjshir Valley, in April 2004 it was created from parts of Parwan Province, which now lies along its southwestern border. Panjshir's population is about 139,000 and covers an area of 3,610 square kilometers...

, Balkh
Balkh Province
Balkh is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the north of the country and its name derives from the ancient city of Balkh, near the modern town...

, Nangarhar
Nangarhar Province
Nangarhar is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan in the east of the country. Its capital is the city of Jalalabad. The population of the province is 1,334,000, which consists mainly of ethnic Pashtuns with a sizable community of Arabs and Pashais....

 and other places were seized by the Afghan government. In October 2007, it was reported that the DDR
Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration
Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration is an applied strategy for executing successful peacekeeping operations, and is generally the strategy employed by all UN Peacekeeping Operations...

 programmes had dismantled 274 paramilitary organizations, reintegrated over 62,000 militia members into civilian life, and recovered more than 84,000 weapons, including heavy weapons. But the New York Times reported this information in the context of a reported rise in the number of hoarded weapons in the face of what has been seen as a growing Taliban threat, even in the north of the country.

In 2007, the ANA Commando Battalion
ANA Commando Battalion
The ANA Commando Brigade are part of the Afghan National Army and were formed from existing Infantry battalions. The program was established in early 2007 with the intent of taking one conventional battalion from each of the ANA corps, giving them special training and equipment and reorganizing...

 was established. The Afghan National Development Strategy of 2008 explained that the aim of DIAG (Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups) was to ban all illegal armed groups in all provinces of the country. Approximately 2,000 such groups have been identified and most of them have surrendered to the Afghan government or joined the nation's military.

The Afghan National Army, trained primarily by the United States armed forces
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

, is presently organized into 31 Kandaks, or Battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

s, 28 of which are considered combat ready. Seven regional corps headquarters exist, but at present most Kandaks operate under American or NATO supervision. The National Military Academy of Afghanistan
National Military Academy of Afghanistan
The National Military Academy of Afghanistan is an academic institution of the Afghan military that is located in Kabul, Afghanistan. It is a four-year military development institution dedicated to graduating officers for the Afghan National Army and the Afghan Air Force...

 was built to provide future officers, it is modeled after the United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

 at West Point, New York
West Point, New York
West Point is a federal military reservation established by President of the United States Thomas Jefferson in 1802. It is a census-designated place located in Town of Highlands in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was 7,138 at the 2000 census...

. A new $200 million Afghan Defense University
Afghan Defense University
The Afghan Defense University is a planned project to house various educational establishments for the military of Afghanistan. The university will be based in the Quarga/Quagheh area of Kabul, Afghanistan on a plot that began being cleared in mid-2008, and that previously served a variety of...

 (ADU) is under construction outside Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

. The ADU will consist of a headquarters building, classrooms, dining facility, library, and medical clinic. In addition to this, an $80 million central command center is under construction at Kabul International Airport
Kabul International Airport
-Facilities:The airport has two terminal buildings, the modern for international flights and the Soviet built one for domestic flights. Several hangars along the runway are for military aircraft...

 and is scheduled to be ready for use in 2012.

The Afghan National Army Air Force is largely inoperative, however some progress has been made in rebuilding it. A number of Mi-17
MI-17
MI-17 can refer to:* Mil Mi-17, Soviet helicopter*M-17...

 and Mi-24 Helicopters and AN-32 cargo planes are operated by the AAF and maintenance crews are being trained. The manpower of the AAF is around 3600, including 450 pilots, mainly trained during the Communist era. The Afghan National Air Corps also includes some female pilots. The air force will double in size to more than 65 refurbished tactical aircraft, paid for by the United States by 2011.

In March 2010, a graduation ceremony was held at the National Military Academy of Afghanistan in Kabul for the class of 2010. These were only the second class to graduate from the academy, which is modeled after the United States Military Academy at West Point. Among the distinguished guests were President Karzai, who made a speech during the event. The total manpower of Afghanistan's military is around 164,000 as of May 2011, which is expected to reach 260,000 in the next few years.

Senior officers



  • Defense Minister, General Abdul Rahim Wardak
  • Defense Ministry Spokesman, Major General Mohammad Zahir Azimi
    Mohammad Zahir Azimi
    Mohammad Zahir Azimi is the official spokesman for the Afghan National Army. He was promoted to the position by Commander-in-Chief of the Afghan Army, Bismillah Khan Mohammadi following the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in 2002....

  • Chief of Staff
    Chief of Army Staff
    The Chief of Army Staff or Chief of Staff of the Army is the most senior officer in the command structure of many armies. The title comes from the fact that the officer is the chief army aide to the Commander-in-Chief, who is usually the head of state...

     of the Afghan National Army
    Afghan National Army
    The Afghan National Army is a service branch of the military of Afghanistan, which is currently trained by the coalition forces to ultimately take the role in land-based military operations in Afghanistan. , the Afghan National Army is divided into seven regional Corps. The strength of the Afghan...

    , Lieutenant General Sher Mohammad Karimi
  • Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Mohammad Ikram
  • Unknown position, Lieutenant General Mohammad Eshaq Noori
  • General Staff Chief of Personnel, Major General Abdul Abdullah
  • General Staff Chief of Intelligence, Major General Abdul Khaliq Faryad
  • General Staff Chief of Logistics, Lieutenant General Azizuddin Farahee
  • General Staff Chief of Communications, Major General Mehrab Ali
  • General Staff Inspector General, Major General Jalandar Shah
  • Surgeon General, Lieutenant General Dr. Abdul Qayum Tutakhail
    Abdul Qayum Tutakhail
    Lt. Gen. Abdul Qayum Tutakhail was born in Sayed-Karam district of Paktia province Afghanistan. He is the current Surgeon General of the Afghan National Army. Prior to this General Tutakhail worked as a faculty lecturer of AFAMS teaching Combat Surgery, Tactics, Organization and Medical Ethics...

  • Afghan National Army Air Corps Commander, Major General Mohammad Dawran
    Mohammad Dawran
    Major General Mohammad Dawran Masoomi is Commander of the Afghan National Army Air Force, which is the sixth corps of the Afghan National Army. He was promoted to the post in 2005 by Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and the Afghan Commander-in-Chief, Bismillah Khan Mohammadi...

  • 201st Selab ("Flood") Corps Commander, Major General Mohammad Rahim Wardak
  • 203rd Tandar ("Thunder") Corps Commander, Major General Abdul Khaleq
  • 205th Atal ("Hero") Corps Commander, General (grade uncertain) Sher Mohammad Zazai
  • 207th Zafar ("Victory") Corps Commander, Major General Jalandar Shah Behnam
  • 209th Shaheen ("Falcon") Corps Commander, Major General Murad Ali
  • 215th Maiwand Corps Commander, (unknown)
  • Afghan National Army Training Command, Major General Aminullah Karim
  • Command and General Staff College, Major General Rizak
  • National Military Academy of Afghanistan, Major General Mohammad Sharef
  • Kabul Military Training Centre, Brigadier General Mohammad Amin Wardak

Weaponry



During the 1950s and 1960s, Afghanistan received moderate quantities of Soviet weapons to keep the military up to date. It was mainly Sukhoi Su-7
Sukhoi Su-7
The Sukhoi Su-7 was a swept wing, supersonic fighter aircraft developed by the Soviet Union in 1955. Originally, it was designed as tactical, low-level dogfighter, but was not successful in this role. On the other hand, soon-introduced Su-7B series became the main Soviet fighter-bomber and...

, MiG-21 fighter jets, T-34
T-34
The T-34 was a Soviet medium tank produced from 1940 to 1958. Although its armour and armament were surpassed by later tanks of the era, it has been often credited as the most effective, efficient and influential design of World War II...

 and Iosif Stalin tank
Iosif Stalin tank
The Iosif Stalin tank , was a heavy tank developed by the Soviet Union during World War II and first used in the Kursk area in September 1943...

s, SU-76
SU-76
The SU-76 was a Soviet self-propelled gun used during and after World War II.- History :The SU-76 was based on a lengthened and widened version of the T-70 tank chassis...

 self-propelled guns, GAZ-69
GAZ-69
GAZ-69 is a four wheel drive light truck, produced by GAZ between 1953 and 1955. From 1954 until 1972 it was produced by UAZ, as UAZ-69, though they were commonly known as GAZ-69s as well...

 4x4 light trucks of jeep class (in many versions), ZIL-157
ZIL-157
The ZIL-157 is a general purpose 2.5 ton 6x6 truck, produced in post-WW2 Soviet Russia.The ZIL-157 was the standard Soviet truck until it was replaced by the ZIL-131 and Ural-375D series whose became the standard Soviet army trucks alongside with GAZ-66. The People's Liberation Army also produced...

 military trucks, Katyusha multiple rocket launchers, and BTR-40
BTR-40
The BTR-40 is a Soviet non-amphibious, wheeled armoured personnel carrier and reconnaissance vehicle. It is often referred to as the Sorokovka in Soviet service. It is also the first mass-produced Soviet APC...

 and BTR-152
BTR-152
The BTR-152 was a non-amphibious Soviet wheeled armored personnel carrier that entered Soviet service in 1950. By the early 1970s it had been replaced in the infantry vehicle role by the BTR-60...

 armored personnel carriers. Also included were PPSh-41
PPSh-41
The PPSh-41 was a Soviet submachine gun designed by Georgi Shpagin as an inexpensive, simplified alternative to the PPD-40. Intended for use by minimally-trained conscript soldiers, the PPSh was a magazine-fed selective-fire submachine gun using an open-bolt, blowback action...

 and RPK
RPK
The RPK is a 7.62x39mm light machine gun of Soviet design, developed by Mikhail Kalashnikov in the late 1950s, parallel with the AKM assault/battle rifle...

 machine guns. After King Zahir Shah's exile in 1973, President Daoud Khan made attempts to create a strong Afghan military in the Greater Middle East
Greater Middle East
The Greater Middle East is a political term coined by the Bush administration to group together together various countries, pertaining to the Muslim world, specifically Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Various Central Asian countries are sometimes also included. Some speakers may use the...

-South Asia region. Between 1973 to 1978, Afghanistan purchased more sophisticated Soviet weapons such as Mi-4
Mil Mi-4
The Mil Mi-4 was a Soviet transport helicopter that served in both military and civilian roles.-Design and development:...

 and Mi-8
Mil Mi-8
The Mil Mi-8 is a medium twin-turbine transport helicopter that can also act as a gunship. The Mi-8 is the world's most-produced helicopter, and is used by over 50 countries. Russia is the largest operator of the Mi-8/Mi-17 helicopter....

 helicopters, Su-22 and Il-28
Ilyushin Il-28
The Ilyushin Il-28 is a jet bomber aircraft of the immediate postwar period that was originally manufactured for the Soviet Air Force. It was the USSR's first such aircraft to enter large-scale production. It was also licence-built in China as the Harbin H-5. Total production in the USSR was 6,316...

 jets. In addition to that the nation possessed great many T-55
T-55
The T-54 and T-55 tanks were a series of main battle tanks designed in the Soviet Union. The first T-54 prototype appeared in March 1945, just before the end of the Second World War. The T-54 entered full production in 1947 and became the main tank for armored units of the Soviet Army, armies of...

, T-62
T-62
The T-62 is a Soviet main battle tank, a further development of the T-55. Its 115 mm gun was the first smoothbore tank gun in use.The T-62 was produced between 1961 and 1975. It became a standard tank in the Soviet arsenal, partly replacing the T-55, although that tank continued to be...

, and PT-76
PT-76
The PT-76 is a Soviet amphibious light tank which was introduced in the early 1950s and soon became the standard reconnaissance tank of the Soviet Army and the other Warsaw Pact armed forces. It was widely exported to other friendly states, like India, Iraq, North Korea and North Vietnam. Overall,...

 battle tanks along with huge amounts of AK-47
AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

 assault rifles ordered. Armored vehicles delivered in the 1970s also included: ZIL-135
ZIL-135
The ZIL-135 is a large, 8 wheeled military transport and self-propelled artillery truck produced in the Cold War by the Soviet Union starting in 1966. Its purpose was to carry and launch an artillery missile, specifically a FROG-7, from surface-to-surface...

s, BMP-1
BMP-1
The BMP-1 is a Soviet amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle. BMP stands for Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty 1 , meaning "infantry fighting vehicle". The BMP-1 was the world's first mass-produced infantry fighting vehicle...

s, BRDM-2
BRDM-2
The BRDM-2 is an amphibious armoured patrol car used by Russia and the former Soviet Union. It was also known under designations BTR-40PB, BTR-40P-2 and GAZ 41-08...

s, BTR-60
BTR-60
The BTR-60 is the first vehicle in a series of Soviet eight-wheeled armoured personnel carriers. It was developed in the late 1950s as a replacement for the BTR-152 and was seen first time in public in 1961...

s, UAZ-469
UAZ-469
The UAZ-469 is an all-terrain vehicle manufactured by UAZ. It was used by the Red Army and other Warsaw Pact forces, as well as paramilitary units in Eastern Bloc countries. In the Soviet Union, it also saw widespread service in all state organizations that needed a robust off-road vehicle.The...

, and GAZ-66
GAZ-66
The GAZ-66 is a Russian 4x4 all-road military truck produced by GAZ. It was the main transport vehicle for motorized infantry of the Soviet Army and is still employed in former Soviet Union countries...

 as well as large quantities of small arms and artillery.

Under the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan was a government of Afghanistan between 1978 and 1992. It was both ideologically close to and economically dependent on the Soviet Union, and was a major belligerent of the Afghan Civil War.- Saur Revolution :...

 (1978–1992), weapon deliveries by the Soviets were increased and included Mi-24
Mil Mi-24
The Mil Mi-24 is a large helicopter gunship and attack helicopter and low-capacity troop transport with room for 8 passengers. It is produced by Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant and operated since 1972 by the Soviet Air Force, its successors, and by over thirty other nations.In NATO circles the export...

 helicopters, MiG-23
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 is a variable-geometry fighter aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau in the Soviet Union. It is considered to belong to the Soviet third generation jet fighter category, along with similarly aged Soviet fighters such as the MiG-25 "Foxbat"...

 fighter aircraft, ZSU-23-4 "Shilka"
ZSU-23-4
The ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" is a lightly armored, self-propelled, radar guided anti-aircraft weapon system . ZSU stands for Zenitnaya Samokhodnaya Ustanovka , meaning "anti-aircraft self-propelled mount". The "23" signifies the bore diameter in millimeters. The "4" signifies the number of gun barrels. It...

 anti-aircraft self-propelled mounts, BTR-70
BTR-70
The BTR-70 is an eight-wheeled armored personnel carrier , originally developed during the late 1960s under the industrial designator GAZ-4905. On August 21, 1972, it was accepted into service and would later be exported to the Warsaw Pact and other allies...

s armored personnel carriers, BM-27 "Uragan"
BM-27
The BM-27 Uragan is a self-propelled multiple rocket launcher system designed in the Soviet Union. It began its service with the Soviet Army in the late 1970s, as its first modern spin and fin stabilized heavy multiple rocket launcher. This system is capable of launching 220 mm rockets from...

 and BM-21 "Grad"
BM-21
The BM-21 launch vehicle , a Soviet truck-mounted 122 mm multiple rocket launcher, and a M-21OF rocket were developed in the early 1960s. BM stands for boyevaya mashina, ‘combat vehicle’, and the nickname means ‘hail’. The complete system with the BM-21 launch vehicle and the M-21OF rocket...

 multiple-launch rocket systems and FROG-7
FROG-7
The 9K52 Luna-M is a Soviet short-range ballistic missile complex. The 9M21 missiles are unguided and spin-stabilized. "9K52" is its GRAU designation. Its NATO reporting name is FROG-7....

 and Scud
Scud
Scud is a series of tactical ballistic missiles developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and exported widely to other countries. The term comes from the NATO reporting name SS-1 Scud which was attached to the missile by Western intelligence agencies...

 launchers. Some of the weapons that were not damaged during the decades of wars are still being used today, while the remainder have probably been sold on the black market.

Since 2007, the United States has been providing billions of dollars in military aid to Afghanistan. One military package from the United States to Afghanistan include 2,500 Humvees, tens of thousands of M-16
M16 rifle
The M16 is the United States military designation for the AR-15 rifle adapted for both semi-automatic and full-automatic fire. Colt purchased the rights to the AR-15 from ArmaLite, and currently uses that designation only for semi-automatic versions of the rifle. The M16 fires the 5.56×45mm NATO...

 assault rifles and body armoured-jackets. It also included the building of a national military command center as well as training compounds in several provinces
Provinces of Afghanistan
The provinces of Afghanistan are the primary administrative divisions of Afghanistan. As of 2004, there are thirty-four provinces in the country. Each province is further divided into smaller districts....

 of the country. It also received 100,000 M16 rifles, which are used mainly by the commandos but also by some of the regular army.

The United States has also been largely responsible for the growth of the Afghan Air Force, as part of the Combined Air Power Transition Force, from four aircraft at the end of 2001 to 32 as of early 2009. The aircraft are Russian made, but either refurbished or purchased by the US. Types include Antonov
Antonov
Antonov, or Antonov Aeronautical Scientist/Technical Complex , formerly the Antonov Design Bureau, is a Ukrainian aircraft manufacturing and services company with particular expertise in the field of very large aircraft construction. Antonov ASTC is a state-owned commercial company...

 transport aircraft, Mi-17 troop-carrying helicopters, and Mi-35
Mil Mi-24
The Mil Mi-24 is a large helicopter gunship and attack helicopter and low-capacity troop transport with room for 8 passengers. It is produced by Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant and operated since 1972 by the Soviet Air Force, its successors, and by over thirty other nations.In NATO circles the export...

 attack helicopter
Attack helicopter
An attack helicopter is a military helicopter with the primary role of an attack aircraft, with the capability of engaging targets on the ground, such as enemy infantry and armored vehicles...

s. The aircrew are being trained by an American team (soon to be headed by Brigadier-General Walter Givhan) but are not of a high standard as of early 2009, with none qualified for night flying or in poor weather. The American intention is to spend around $5 billion by 2016 to increase the force to around 120 aircraft.

In March 2008, the New York Times reported that in the past 12 months, the main supplier of munitions to Afghanistan's army and police forces was a AEY, Inc., a company headed by a 22-year old Efraim E. Diveroli, an Israeli-American
Israeli American
Israeli Americans are Americans of Israeli descent. According to the 2000 census, there were 106,839 people of Israeli ancestry in the United States.- Demographics :...

 from Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 whose vice president was a licensed masseur. The Times reported that much of the ammunition was defective, and appeared to involve illegal arms dealing. The company obtained more than 100 million cartridges from stocks in Eastern European countries including Albania, Bulgaria, Montenegro, and Romania.

Canadian Forces
Canadian Forces
The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."...

 supplied the Afghan National Army
Afghan National Army
The Afghan National Army is a service branch of the military of Afghanistan, which is currently trained by the coalition forces to ultimately take the role in land-based military operations in Afghanistan. , the Afghan National Army is divided into seven regional Corps. The strength of the Afghan...

 with surplus C7 assault rifles to bring the ANA up to NATO standards (CTV
CTV News
CTV News is the news division of the CTV Television Network in Canada. The name CTV News is also applied as the title of local and regional newscasts on the network's owned-and-operated stations , which are closely tied to the national news division...

, CBC
CBC News
CBC News is the department within the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the news gathering and production of news programs on CBC television, radio and online services...

 report on December 23, 2007). As of June 2011 the Afghan National Army has returned the Canadian-made C7 in favor of the American-made M16 rifle, reason being that parts between the two rifles, despite being similar, are not fully interchangeable.

As the number of the Afghan armed forces is growing rapidly so is the need for more aircraft and vehicles. It was announced in 2011 that the military of Afghanistan would be provided with 145 multi-type aircraft, 21 helicopters and 23,000 various type vehicles. In the meantime, the Afghan military began seeking latest fighter aircraft
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

and other advanced weapons. Defense Minister Wardak explained that "what we are asking to acquire is just the ability to defend ourselves, and also to be relevant in the future so that our friends and allies can count on us to participate in peacekeeping and other operations of mutual interest."