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The Afghan National Army (ANA) is critical to the success of the allied efforts in Afghanistan and the ultimate stability of the national government. This monograph assesses the ANA's progress in the areas of recruitment, training, facilities, and operational capability. It draws on a variety of sources: in-country interviews with U.S., NATO, and Afghan officials; data provided by the U.S. Army; open-source literature; and a series of public opinion surveys conducted in Afghanistan over the past several years. Although the ANA has come a long way since the outset of the recent conflict in the country, the authors conclude that coalition forces, especially those of the United States, will play a crucial role in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future, particularly in light of the increased threat from Taliban forces and other illegally armed criminal groups.

The research described in this report was jointly sponsored by the Royal Danish Defence College and RAND's International Security and Defense Policy Center. The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

This report is part of the RAND monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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