Afghan army remains far from ready to go it alone
NOOR KHIEL, Afghanistan – Among the huge challenges it faces in taking over from the departing U.S. and NATO armies, Afghanistan’s new army is up against the myth that its troops aren’t Muslims.
Taliban propaganda has sought to plant the notion that because it works with foreign forces, the Afghan National Army must be a heathen one. So when villagers see his soldiers drop to their knees in mid-patrol and recite the daily prayer, they’re surprised, said Lt. Col. Abdul Wakil Warzajy, a battalion commander. “Until they see us praying,” he said, “they think that we are like the foreigners – infidels.”
From the Soviet invasion of 1979 through the ensuing civil wars, from the rise of the warlords and their militias to the U.S.-led invasion that followed the 9/11 attacks, ordinary Afghans can barely remember having had an army they could call their own.
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