Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior on Thursday both rejected remarks made by General John F. Campbell, the Resolute Support Mission and the U.S. Forces commander in Afghanistan, on Tuesday that at least 4,000 Afghan security force members are deserting their posts every month.
The Afghan Defense Ministry said that volunteers enter the security forces and sign contracts and that once their contracts end they are free to leave. The ministry said that large numbers of people volunteer for the army and the ministry does not have any problems in terms of recruitment.
“This is not true that we lose 4,000 soldiers every month or that they desert. Most are on contract and after their contract ends, if they want to renew their contracts with us they do or if they want to leave they can,” said MoD deputy spokesman Dawlat Waziri.
Meanwhile Afghan Ministry of Interior rejects claims that it is because of poor leadership that their security force members leave.
“I am not confirming Gen. Campbell remarks, because we don’t have losses or deserters to that extent and we recruit enough people,” said MoI spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.
These comments come on the back of Gen. Campbell’s debate at the Brooking Institute in Washington DC on Afghanistan’s Future. Speaking at a question and answer session Campbell criticized senior security officials in Afghanistan and said the main reason for troops deserting was because of a lack of a proper management of army and police personnel in the country.
Gen. Campbell also stated that because of the ongoing war, security force members were unable to take time off for a vacation.
But Waziri rejected this and said troops were being given time off to go home. He said it was a simple process – they were either on the battle field or at home on leave – or on training courses.
In addition, a number of critics spoke out on Thursday and said that officials need to motivate the security force members.
“Concern over the lack of management is completely correct and I think if officials motivate security forces it will be an achievement,” said Abdul Qadir Qalatwal a local lawmaker.
However, security forces in general have been praised these past few months by numerous people for their continued efforts to fight insurgents.