Analysis

Signs the Afghan Army Can Hold Its Own Against the Taliban
An Afghan National Army soldier marches forward to receive his certificate after completing explosives training by the US Army's 10th Mountain Division in Ghazni province on May 29. (DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)
July 20, 2013
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| Middle East and North Africa
Summary
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Afghanistan's army faces daunting challenges as it prepares to battle the Taliban and other insurgents next year without U.S. and European troops by its side. But those who predict it will be quickly overrun have not taken stock of a number of factors. One is the army's sheer size. But it enjoys two other distinct advantages as well.
Afghanistan’s army is plagued by serious problems, leading many to predict the Taliban’s return to the power they wielded before U.S. and Northern Alliance forces ousted them in 2001. However, the army has important advantages and will continue to benefit from residual foreign assistance. There is little likelihood that the ANA can defeat the Taliban, but the Taliban are not likely to defeat the ANA, either.
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