Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Jirga and the Bilateral Security Agreement

Yesterday it was announced that the Governments of Afghanistan and the United States reached an agreement to keep US troops - and massive military aid - in the country until 2024. The agreement must first be affirmed by a Loya Jirga and then the Afghan Parliament. Details from day one.

The challenges facing Afghan civil society to overcome militarism will be daunting. Over the past few years far-reaching partnerships, arrangements and designations have sought to use military aid, training, and equipment to build up government security forces in order to define the transition period (2014 – 2024). Far fewer resources are being invested in strategies that can begin to address root causes.


Instead of soldiers, armed contractors, and covert action what if we supported peace-building, reconciliation and healing?


An Afghan protester holds a banner reading "Signing Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the USA is a treason" at the loya jirga, a meeting of Afghan elders, in Kabul on November 21, 2013 (AFP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)


For Afghan alternatives look at the sites below.

Project 50 | Portraits – People – Lifestyle – Arts

Our man in Kabul

Afghanistan: Its people and daily life through pictures

Missing from the today’s commentary is the militarized super-structure that the US is funding. Afghans deserve better.

Afghanistan National Security Forces (30 September 2013)
176,818 - Afghan National Army
153,153 - Afghan National Police
6.616 - Afghan Air force
TOTAL 336,587

Afghan Special Forces
24,286 Afghan Local Police (Trained by US Special-Forces)
19,612 Afghan Public Protection (to replace private armed contractors)
TOTAL 43,898

US Military and Contractors
64,000 - Troops Deployed in Afghanistan (September 2013)
85,528 - DoD Contractors (October 2013)
14,056 - DoD Private (October 2013)
TOTAL 163,584

Total Forces: 544,069

Number of US Troops from SIGAR
Contractor numbers from CENTCOM Quarterly Contractor Census Report (DoD)
Afghan Security Forces from SIGAR




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Afghanistan 101 is a blog of the American Friends Service Committee
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