Procurement 'Biggest Challenge' for Army: Defense Minister

News - Afghanistan


The minister of national defense, who was called along with the minister of interior to the parliament Saturday for questioning, said that the lack of management and logistics capacity is a serious challenge for the security forces.

Isaf will hand over procurement responsibility to the ministry of defense, but the ministry lacks a professional procurement staff, the minister added. The Afghan National Army is already handling procurement for oil, uniforms and assorted equipment, he said.

"We do not have a professional staff for procurement. Nato handled all the purchases for the army, but now money is given to the defense ministry. This will be the biggest challenge for the national army and we have to raise capacity in this area," said Bismillah Mohammadi, defense minister.

Mohammadi added that a lack of air force, gunners and professional intelligence and forensics capabilities are other challenges for the army.

He tried to reassure the parliament that civil war will not break out in Afghanistan after 2014 and that the security forces will able to hold the country together.

"Afghanistan will not experience civil war after 2014. Saying that Afghanistan will face internal wars is only a conspiracy from the enemies of Afghanistan. The only thing that will be a threat for Afghanistan after 2014 is insurgency, which the Afghan forces are fighting," Mohammadi said.

He added that the international community will be donating more than $4 billion a year for security, but the security forces need to develop the capacity to spend it in the appropriate areas.

Mujtaba Patang, interior minister, said that the police will reach 157,000 by the end of 2014. But he was grilled for the police's failure to arrest a number of high-profile alleged criminals.

MPs criticized the interior minister for failing to arrest Mohammad Kamin and Amir Gol -- two former Baghlan police officials accused of killing three army officers -- and Hakim Shojaee, a former local police commander accused of killing a number of civilians in Uruzgan.

"There are hopes that the ministry of interior affairs will bring Amir Gol and Hakim Shojaee to justice, as such people disrupt the public order," said Shukria Barekzai, MP.

"I want the ministry of interior affairs to bring to justice those who kill the innocent. The ministry should defend the blood of the innocent," said Qudratullah Zaki, Takhar MP.

The interior minister, however, did not mention Kamin and Gol, but assured of Shojaee's arrest.

"I assure you that Hakim Shujaee will be arrested this week. He will be handed over to the prosecutors. This is a certain pledge," said Mujtaba Patang, minister of interior affairs.

"Mr. Shujaee is hidden in an unknown area of Ghazni province, but he cannot escape the law," he added.

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