Following denials of media reports about it, Afghanistan on Monday formally acknowledged plans to form a new localized anti-terrorism force of former army men.
Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Dawlat Waziri affirmed that plans are in place that would see former soldiers join the new battalions at the provincial level under the command of the Afghan National Army (ANA). He dismissed concerns about potential militia abuse in light of the bloody past of such militias in the war-torn country.
“This force would be under the command of a serving army officer, they would have proper uniforms, they would be trained and paid by the army. Only former soldiers from the relevant locality would be selected. They are absolutely not a militia,” he explained.
Last week Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged Afghanistan to reject proposals to create a new militia with inadequate training and oversight. “The Afghan government’s expansion of irregular forces could have enormously dangerous consequences for civilians,” said Patricia Gossman, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch.
“Instead of creating additional local forces, which are hard to control and prone to abuses, the Afghan government with U.S. and NATO support should be strengthening training and oversight to ensure that all forces respect the law.”
The idea of this new force is said to have come from the Indian Territorial Army, an auxiliary force made up of personnel who serve on a short-term contract basis with the regular armed forces. The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission is believed to support such a local security force in Afghanistan.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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