Poll Summary: Had the deadly Taliban attack on Afghan army base in Mazar-i-Sharif raised questions on its capacity to deal with terrorism?
Poll Question: Do you think that the deadly Taliban attack on an Afghan army base in Mazar-i-Sharif raises serious questions on the capacity of Afghan forces in the light of recent regional developments?
The Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) recently generated an online poll to assess public opinion pertaining to the capacity of Afghan forces in dealing with internal turmoil the country is facing. This can be accredited to poor governance, corruption, and weak rule of law in Afghanistan. Since the disputed 2014 presidential election, friction between the two halves of the “National Unity Government” has prevented the government from implementing widely supported reforms, notably against corruption. This has deepened public discontent and questions over the government’s legitimacy.
A majority of 74.07% of the respondents expressed that the attack raised serious questions on the capability of Afghan armed forces in dealing with Afghan Taliban. Furthermore, it also raised questions on the effectiveness of the presence of foreign forces on Afghan soil. While 7.41% viewed it as a part of the normal course of happenings which does not make a big difference. However, only 17.6% of the respondents had no clear idea on the matter.
The general security architecture implies fundamental problems for the Afghan state. The three major security institutions, the army, the police and the intelligence service, have overlapping competences and responsibilities. They have units that have been structured, trained and equipped for internal use and the fight against the insurrection movement. In addition, all three are in addition to the insurgency control also police were tasked and have domestic, intelligence-working departments. This is the cause of considerable rivalries that have long since extended to a struggle for resources, recognition and – against the backdrop of foreseeable budget reductions – a long-term existential right. The Afghan security forces have been facing significant challenges, in particular regarding operational capacity. Shortcomings in the areas of command and control, leadership and logistics, and high attrition rates, have a significant impact on morale, recruitment and sustainability.