Armored Vechiles of the Afghanistan National Army.

WolfPack86

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U.S. to give Afghan army new weapons
KABUL (Reuters) - The U.S. military is to provide the Afghan army with armored vehicles and NATO standard weapons in an attempt to boost the capability of the fledgling force, the U.S. military said on Wednesday.

Violence has surged in Afghanistan despite some 64,000 foreign troops in the country battling a resurgent Taliban militants, and military experts believe that the Afghan army is the key to the nation’s long-term stability.

The Afghan army has now reached a strength of more than 62,000 and is to more than double to 134,000 in the coming years. The new vehicles and weapons will be a boost to an army that lacks guns, tanks and planes.


The army will receive more than 6,000 armored vehicles and some 75,000 NATO standard M-16 rifles over the coming year, the U.S. military unit responsible for training the Afghans said in a statement.

“The Afghan National Army will become a modernized army with Humvees and NATO weapons. This transformation will help usher their forces into the 21st Century,” Major Charles McPhail, chief of plans and requirements, said in the statement.

The M-16 rifle has been the primary weapon of the U.S. military for more than 30 years while the Afghan army uses the more sturdy, but less accurate Russian-designed AK-47.


“Our soldiers like these weapons,” said Afghan army Major Hasim Habiullah. “Some of them have already qualified with the M-16 rifle.”

Nearly 600 Humvees and more than 6,000 M-16 rifles have already been provided and training on the new weapons and vehicles has also been started.
 

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Afghan Army Gets Armored Personnel Carriers
KABUL, Afghanistan --- The Afghan National Army is getting a new look over the next few months. As a result of a recent equipment donation, they will appear a little less Soviet and a little more like their Coalition partners.

The Afghan National Army recently took delivery of 10 M113A2 armored personnel carriers from the United States at Camp Pol-e-Charkhi, on the outskirts of Kabul. This was the first shipment of vehicles with more to follow.

Lt. Col. David Braxton, logistics operations chief at the Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan, said, “Based on the force structure designed for Afghanistan’s internal threat, armored personnel carriers were identified as a requirement for the Afghanistan National Army.

The U.S. M113A2s are an excess defense article, which allows them to be donated. Given the performance and popularity of the M113s around the world, it is an excellent match for the (Afghan National Army’s) (armored personnel carrier) requirement.”

The M113s already have a home. They will become part of the 2nd Kandak (Battalion) Mechanized Infantry, in the 201st Corps’ 3rd Brigade, located in Kabul.

The 218th Infantry Regiment of the South Carolina Army National Guard, part of Task Force Phoenix, has been tasked with training the Afghan National Army to operate and maintain the new vehicles.

According to 1st Sgt. Bobby Duggins, one of the kandak’s embedded training team advisors, “The (Afghan National Army) soldiers are totally excited about receiving this vehicle. The M113 is a new vehicle for them and there is always a level of excitement when you introduce something new.”

Because this (armored personnel carrier) is so versatile, it can be used in many ways,” added Duggins. While the Afghan National Army will use the armored personnel carriers primarily to transport troops, Duggins added that the M113 “can also be used as a squad heavy weapon (to fire mortars), and it can be used by medical units and maintenance teams going into the battlefield.”

In addition to the 10 M113s that arrived recently, Braxton said, “We expect 45 M113s and 16 M577s (command vehicles) to begin arriving the second week in May. The remaining vehicles will be in country throughout the next month for a total of 63 M113s and 16 M577s.”

Because the 2nd Kandak Mechanized team was previously fielded with another armored personnel carrier, the Soviet BMP1, training on the M113 was a smooth transition.

Prior to the arrival of the U.S. M113s, the kandak soldiers were trained by the International Security Assistance Force’s Norwegian Battle Group using five modified M113s they deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year. According to Lt. Col. Jon Mangersnes, Norwegian Battle Group commander, “We conducted two weeks of practical training. This type of training cannot be conducted in a class room; you have to get hands on the vehicle.”

The training covered the basic operation and maintenance of the M113, including how to start, steer and maneuver, and how to manipulate the operator switches. “It was a lot of fun for my guys,” added Mangersnes. “The Afghan soldiers were very receptive to the training and the younger soldiers are extremely proud to be in the Afghan Army.”

The total donation, including repair parts, is estimated to be worth $10 million.

The U.S. is the only country providing the M113s, ensuring that all the M113 variants are the same so they will be less expensive to maintain.

“To sustain the M113s here in country, the Afghan National Army’s 3rd Brigade is receiving a one-year stock level of repair parts,” said New Hampshire Army National Guardsman Chief Warrant Officer Gill Colon, the Task Force Phoenix logistics officer and embedded training team advisor to the 3rd Brigade.

The maintenance for the M113 fleet will be conducted by Afghan National Army mechanics who will be trained by U.S. mobile training teams.

The South Carolina Army National Guardsmen who normally train the 2nd Kandak will be leaving Afghanistan in a few months.

According to the unit’s executive officer, Maj. Greg Cornell, “We want to get the (Afghan National Army) mechanized team at least to team-level proficiency on the M113 before we leave. A special range is being prepared so that we can work on maneuvers and team-level live-fire exercises.”
 

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Afghan National Army receives 429 military vehicles from the United States
The Afghan National Army has received 429 military vehicles from the US as part of Washington and the NATOs continued support to the war-torn country's forces, the Defence Ministry here said in a statement on Friday.

In the statement, Deputy Defence Minister Shah Mahmoud Miakhil was quoted as saying that said the military equipment and the vehicles, received on Thursday, will be used to ensure the safety of the people, reports TOLO News.

According to Mikhail, 215 of the Humvees were received in Kabul and 214 others were handed to the Ministry of Defence in Kandahar.


"Preservation of the Afghan Security Forces is of vital importance to Afghanistan's long-term stability and security," said Lt. Gen. John Deedrick, commander of Combined Security Transition CommandAfghanistan (CSTC-A).

The statement said that the Afghan forces have received 1,383 Humvees, 55 Mobile Strike Force vehicles, 10 helicopters and 4 A-29 aircraft from the US so far.

"Over the past year, the US delivered $574 million of equipment to the Afghan government and our security forces as we fight terrorism and provide security for our people," TOLO News quoted the Ministry statement as saying.

It also added that the US will transfer $102 million more in equipment in near future.

This development comes as violence has remained high in the country amidst the ongoing peace efforts.

Recently, three provinces in the south of the country were attacked by the Taliban.
 

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The Afghan Army Have A Chinese Armored Car

On the evening December 24 gunmen launched a spectacular attack on government buildings in Kabul. After eight hours of fighting inside the Ministry of Public Works and a nearby social welfare office it was confirmed 43 people were killed. Footage broadcast by international media showed the military and police had locked down the streets outside the affected buildings. The organization responsible for the attack hasn’t been identified and the Taliban denied its involvement.


But footage from the following morning revealed a Chinese-made armored vehicle used by an army unit. A thorough analysis of its external characteristics reveals it’s a BaoJi SVM Tiger. These protected trucks are designed for internal security roles and have been delivered to several countries.





The same imagery of the Afghan Tiger showed it had a roof mounted W85 heavy machine gun on an armored cupola. The gunner behind it wore a distinctive maroon beret common among the Afghan National Army Commando Corps, an elite formation trained for counter-terrorism and kitted like their NATO counterparts. A soldier on guard near the Tiger was carrying an M16 too, which is further evidence the army commandos had a role in eliminating the terrorists who attacked the Ministry of Public Works.



The deployment of Chinese armored vehicles with Afghanistan’s army shouldn’t be too surprising. A significant amount of its arsenal is Chinese-made, anyway. Furthermore, Beijing and Kabul have struck agreements for limited deliveries of security assistance. But the specifics of these deals are often never revealed to the public. Neither is there evidence of Afghanistan’s defense ministry ordering the Tiger manufactured by BaoJi since it’s so reliant on the US’s generosity.


China does transfer weapons and vehicles like the Tiger to countries it deems allies or countries that are struggling with internal strife. Bolivia, for example, is an eager recipient of Chinese military aid and now owns multiple Tiger 4×4’s after it signed a cooperation agreement several years ago. Neighboring Tajikistan, whose security forces are burdened with protecting a long and rugged southern border, received a few BaoJi Tigers as gifts from a worried China.


The BaoJi Tiger can seat 11 occupants, including the driver, and is built to resist direct fire from AK-47’s. Bulletproof panels serve as its windshield and side windows. External cameras, smoke grenade dischargers, and strobe lights are among its optional countermeasures. Aside from its circular turret for the main armament there are four smaller hatches on its roof. These allow the passengers to better observe their surroundings. How many Tigers are in the Afghan military’s vehicular fleet isn’t known yet.



Chinese-made weapons and equipment have a long history in Afghanistan. Vast amounts of assault rifles, anti-tank weapons, machine guns, mortars, and portable rocket launchers were transferred to the Mujahideen guerillas during the Soviet-Afghan War (1979-1989). To this day, the Type 56 assault rifle–a Chinese Kalashnikov analog–and the Type 69 rocket grenade launcher are commonly found with both terrorist groups and government security forces. So widespread are these weapons, in fact, US and NATO forces have been at the receiving end of the Taliban’s (Chinese-made) recoilless rifles and short-range rockets.


For the Afghan army’s commandos to adopt vehicles like the Tiger is proof China values the Afghan government’s role in defeating regional terrorism. It’s a positive sign that Beijing wants stability in Central Asia, whose less than democratic governments are now viable customers for its military exports. After 17 years of war, however, it helps that newer armored personnel carriers are arriving in Afghanistan. Kabul’s soldiers and police only drive so many battered Humvees and MRAPs that don’t have enough spare parts between them.
 

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India to give Afghanistan improved weapon systems for counter-insurgency ops: Sources
In a major push to spread its influence in the neighborhood, India has decided to supply weapons and equipment to friendly foreign countries, including Afghanistan.

And, for the first time, India is likely to provide Afghanistan with troop carriers, spares for tanks, and rocket systems that are used in counter-insurgency operations.

Top sources have told India Today that the Defence Ministry has asked the three services to draw-up a list of weapon systems that they can spare.

Sources said New Delhi wants to give Afghanistan the Indian Army's excess stocks.

The Afghan National Army is comfortable handling Russian-origin platforms, which comprise at least 60 per cent of India's arsenal.

Apart from this, India is also looking to procure weapon systems from the erstwhile Soviet Block.

"We will be providing them improved and strengthened weapons systems and platforms needed for effective counter-insurgency operations," top sources told India Today.

Sources indicated that India is likely to provide four more helicopters, besides repairing and refurbishing helicopters it had gifted Afghanistan earlier.

India will be providing friendly foreign countries "improved and strengthened weapon systems that we can spare besides sourcing from former Soviet-Bloc countries," a top Defence Ministry source told India Today.

Breaking from the past of not supplying lethal platforms to counties like Afghanistan, the Modi-led NDA government had supplied four Russian made Mi-25 helicopters to Afghanistan.

The helicopters were to bolster the capabilities of the Afghan National Army to fight the Taliban. These helicopters are, however, grounded and need to be overhauled.

"We will overhaul and provide spares to make them operational again," a top source told India Today.
 

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Afghanistan’s Army to Receive More Armored Vehicles to Battle Taliban
The ANA is to receive 55 additional Commando Select Armored Security Vehicles by February 2016.

The United States is rushing additional military hardware to Afghanistan to support the embattled Afghan National Army. According to IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, the U.S.-based defense contractor Textron Marine & Land Systems has been awarded a $56.2 million contract for the delivery of 55 additional Commando Select Armored Security Vehicles by February 2016.

“Vehicle deliveries are to begin in October and finish by February 2016, and the platforms include 36 with Objective Gunner Protection Kits, 15 with enclosed 40 mm/.50-calibre turrets, and four ambulance variants,” the article notes.

The Afghan National Army (ANA) already operates 623 Commando Select wheeled armored cars, although it is unclear how many of them are functional. More heavily armored and more heavily armed than the ANA’s Humvees, the Commando Select is considered to be the backbone of the Afghan government’s ground forces in Afghanistan.

The ANA currently operates three different variants of the Commando Select including ambulance, enclosed turret, and so-called Objective Gunner’s Protection Kits–gun shields manned by a gunner up top–versions. Each version has a crew of three and can carry up to seven passengers. In addition, the ANA also uses the vehicle as an armored personal carrier, alternatively armed with a machine gun or grenade launcher, that can carry up to eight soldiers.

The Commando Select is a derivative of the USA M1117 Armored Security Vehicle, however, unlike the M1117, the Commando Select purportedly has the same mine blast protection than a heftier Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Category 1 vehicle.

In addition to heavier armor, reasons for the Commando Select’s improved mine blast protection are its V-shaped hull, ceramic plating, and an inner spall liner. Furthermore, the armor of the vehicle is angled and therefore can deflect rocket-propelled grenade projectiles.

The Commando Select is armed with a .50 caliber M2 Browning machine gun and the Mk 19 40mm auto-grenade launcher.

Back in September, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John F. Sopko, expressed his concern that the United States may be oversupplying the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces with military hardware:

I am concerned that we may be buying equipment and vehicles in quantities that exceed the needs of the ANDSF. I am also concerned that such large acquisitions could prompt the premature disposal of equipment and vehicles that have already been issued to the ANDSF and that have significant service life remaining.
His list of concerns included medium-tactical vehicles, M-16 rifles, Humvees, and ammunition. The Pentagon has so far not provided an explanation why the ANA is in need of additional armored cars.
 

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