Afghan army units in the Helmand province have seen massive setbacks in their battles against Taliban forces. Many have laid blame for these defeats on Afghan leadership in the area. Recently, US military personnel have reported that many key commanders in these units are to be replaced. The hope is that these leadership changes and restructuring moves will bring about a new sense of morale to troops.
Fighting in the Helmand area has been intense over the last several months. In many of these battles, insurgent forces have taken army bases, equipment, and have made steady gains in controlling more territory. Locals have asked for help but have been disappointed by an increasing level of corruption in the Afghan army and its leadership.
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner, the head of public affairs for the U.S.-NATO mission, was reported in The Associated Press as saying the Afghan army corps in Helmand is now being “rebuilt” and that many of its senior officers will be replaced.
According to Shoffner, these changes are needed because the Afghan 215 Maiwand Corps “are a combination of incompetence, corruption and ineffectiveness. Already, the corps’ commander has been replaced as well as “some brigade commanders and some key corps staff up to full colonel level,” Shoffner said.
The Helmand province shares 155 miles of border with Pakistan. The area also grows huge amounts of opium, which is used to produce the majority of the world’s heroin. The opium harvest is estimated to be worth as much as $3 billion a year; much of this money is used to fund the insurgency.
Gen. Dawlat Waziri of the Afghan Defense Ministry confirmed that replacements were in the works and also said that army Gen. Moheen Faqiri has been appointed as Corp’s Commander.
NATO and the US currently have about 13,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan, with most of those troops working as trainers or advisers. Because of the drawdown of these troops over the years since 2014, Afghan leaders are seeing how hard it is to manage its fight against the Taliban.
It is estimated that there are about 12,000 Taliban fighters currently in the Helmand area. As many as 60% of these fighters are not native to the area, coming in from various others parts of the country.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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