As the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) continue their offensive operations against militants in 16 provinces, officials from the Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Monday announced that the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) may ask for foreign air support if the need arises.
“We will push foreign forces for air support if needed. But the support will be provided in harmony with our own forces,” MoD spokesman Dawlat Waziri said.
According to Waziri, the ANSF is currently conducting 17 military operations against insurgents in sixteen provinces.
Waziri also touched on the subject of air support to ANSF by foreign forces during military operations in Kunduz, Badakhshan and Helmand provinces and said the outcomes were encouraging.
“We asked for foreign air support during the military operations in Kunduz, Badakhshan, Nangarhar and Sangeen district of Helmand province,” he said.
Meanwhile, a number of security experts have concurred and said that foreign air support would be helpful in targeting militants on the ground as this also decreases the number of casualties among the Afghan forces.
“Air support is quite important to our forces. Therefore the ministry of defense must raise the issue with foreign forces so that our military commanders directly request foreign troops for air support if needed,” military commentator Atiqullah Amarkhail said.
“Primary requirement for support falls in the four categories, the first is close air support, the second is aviation, the third is intelligence and the fourth is logistics. That support can be required at some form … for the next couple of years,” Resolute Support Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner said.
Many believe that the ANSF is fully competent to combat the militants in the battle field effectively. But at the same time, they do not have the necessary equipment or weapons to respond effectively to the enemy, an issue which analysts blame for the rising number of casualties among Afghan troops.
The Afghan government has consistently urged its international partners to consider the requirements of the Afghan air force and to modernize weapons so as to provide better assistance in backing up the ground troops.