Cover: Building Afghanistan's Security Forces in Wartime

Building Afghanistan's Security Forces in Wartime

The Soviet Experience

Published Oct 13, 2011

by Olga Oliker

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Security force assistance, specifically the development of Afghanistan's security forces, is a central pillar of the counterinsurgency campaign being waged by U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. The outcome of the campaign hinges, in large measure, on the effectiveness of the assistance provided to the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, and other security forces. This report provides an overview of Soviet efforts to improve and facilitate the training and development of Afghan security forces, specifically, the Afghan military, police, and intelligence services. It covers the time period from 1920–1989, with specific focus on the period of the Soviet military presence in Afghanistan, from 1979–1989. To do so, it draws on Western, Soviet, and Russian historical sources and interviews in Kabul and Moscow with individuals involved on the Soviet side and on the Afghan side. It concludes with comparisons with and lessons for ongoing security force assistance in Afghanistan.

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by RAND Arroyo Center.

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