Reconstructing the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces: Lessons From the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan

Reconstructing the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces: Lessons From the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan
Reconstructing the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces: Lessons From the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan
Agency Publisher: 
USA Price: 
GPO Stock Number:

This publication is the second in a series of lessons learned reports which examine how the U.S. government and Departments of Defense, State, and Justice carried out reconstruction programs in Afghanistan.  In particular, the report analyzes security sector assistance (SSA) programs to create, train and advise the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) between 2002 and 2016.  This publication concludes that the effort to train the ANDSF needs to continue, and provides recommendations for the SSA programs to be improved, based on lessons learned from careful analysis of real reconstruction situations in Afghanistan.  The publication states that the United States was never prepared to help create Afghan police and military forces capable of protecting that country from internal and external threats.  It is the hope of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), John F. Sopko, that this publication, and other SIGAR reports will create a body of work that can help provide reasonable solutions to help United States agencies and military forces improve reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.

Related items:

Counterterrorism publications can be found here:

Counterinsurgency publications can be found here:

Warfare & Military Strategy publications can be found here:

Afghanistan War publications can be found here:

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:

Executive Summary p. viii

Chapter 1

Introduction p. 1

Why Policy Makers Should Care about Security Sector Assistance p. 3

The Complexities of the U.S. Security Sector Assistance Framework p. 5

Chapter 2

2001-2003: Building the Foundations for the Afghan National Security Forces p. 11

Early U.S. Efforts Did Not Include Security Force Development p. 11

The Afghan Scrimmage for Power p. 12

Lead Nation Silos: International Commitment to Security Sector Reform p. 14

Afghan National Army p. 15

Afghan National Police p. 26

Transitional Forces and Eroding Security p. 33

Chapter 3

2004-2008: Rapid Expansion of the Force to Address Growing Insecurity p. 35

Reconstitution of the Taliban p. 35

Erosion of Local Support p. 36

United States Takes Ownership of Army and Police Development p. 37

Afghan National Army p. 38

Afghan National Police p. 55

Chapter 4

2009-2014: U.S. Surge and Transition p. 69

U.S. Strategic Review p. 69

Transition Security to Afghan Lead p. 71

Afghan National Army p. 76

Afghan National Police p. 93

Chapter 5

2015-2016: Train, Advise, and Assist p. 107

Conditions Not Set, Afghans Face Resilient Insurgency p. 107

U.S. Leadership Struggles to Stabilize Mission Scope p. 108

Resolute Support and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel p. 109

Afghan National Army p. 111

Afghan National Police p. 120

Chapter 6

Cross-Cutting Issues Affecting ANDSF Development p. 131

Corruption and Conditionality p. 131

Literacy Training: Building a Sustainable, Independent ANDSF p. 142

Women in the ANDSF p. 148

ANDSF Equipment and Weapons p. 153

Attrition in the ANDSF p. 156

Rotational Training p. 160

Chapter 7

Key Findings and Conclusions p. 165

Chapter 8

Lessons p. 175

Chapter 9

Recommendations p. 181

Appendices and Endnotes p. 199

Appendix A: Methodology p. 199

Appendix B: Summary of Relevant Audits and Inspections p. 202

Appendix C: Abbreviations p. 215

Endnotes p. 217

Selected Bibliography p. 247

Acknowledgments p. 259


This publication provides independent and objective leadership and recommendations to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness; prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse; and inform Congress, and the Secretaries of State and Defense about reconstruction-related problems in Afghanistan and the need for corrective action.

Product Details

Availability Details:
USA Price:
International Price:
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction
  • Sopko, John F.
Key Phrases:
  • SIGAR 17 62 LL
  • Afghanistan
  • SIGAR, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction
  • Lessons From the United States Experience in Afghanistan
Quantity Price:
Unit of Issue (US):
Unit of Issue (Non-US):
Record Creation Date:
Last Status Update:
Back to Top