Story by Bob Ditchey on 04/11/2018Apr. 8, 2018 - Radio Bayan FM 88.5 FM in Kabul, Afghanistan
Translated from Dari
Radio Bayan: Last year the Special Operations Command Division upgraded to a Corps. Why did it changed to a Corps and how effective is this change on fighting and supporting of Afghan Security Forces in Afghanistan?
Lt. Gen. Waziri: According to Afghanistan government's four-year plan and the situation of the war that we are facing, we decided to upgrade the Special Operations Division to a Corps. We work on recruitment of personnel, education and training of personnel, equipment of personnel and then we are trying to start the work. As you know that we started from Battalion, then it developed to Regiment and they did all Special Operations in Afghanistan, then upgraded to Division and at the end this section upgraded to Corps. The Special Operations Forces have their specific responsibilities. We have our responsibilities and do the Special Operations all seasons. The Special Operations Forces have lots of achievements and victories during the past year, and we defeat our enemies. For example, the Daesh group wanted to establish their terror centers in the south of Nangarhar province, but with support of the people of Afghanistan and power of Commando Forces and Special Forces, the enemies couldn't build their terror centers there. At first the enemy killed lots of the people in those areas, they destroyed all the houses, schools and agricultural lands. We prevented them from building terror centers and thousands of them were killed during our operations.
Radio Bayan: How modern is the equipment of Special Forces? And how much attentio did you pay to make the Afghan Special Operations Forces more professional?
Lt. Gen. Waziri: I want to say that the Afghan Special Operations Forces are equipped like NATO Forces, the equipment is modern and the Air Forces is equipped with modern technology. There is a big educational center for Afghan Special Forces and the education of Special Forces will continue. There are teams for assessing of the education in all centers, they will make plans if something is necessary in those centers.
Radio Bayan: This Corps is for Special Operations.
Lt. Gen. Waziri: As you know that there are different classes in military forces in the world like: support classes and basic classes. The Special Forces are made to do the hard works and Special Operations in different locations. The Special Forces are trained to do the operations in less time and to gain the specific aims. We can say that the Special Forces and Commando Forces are working for security and they have supportive jobs. The Afghan Special Forces are experienced and have lots of achievements during the operations.
Radio Bayan: In which provinces are the Afghan Special Forces?
Lt. Gen. Waziri: The Afghan Special Forces are in 14 provinces of Afghanistan and they will do Special Operations in other locations if necessary.
Radio Bayan: How is the physical fitness of Special Forces?
Lt. Gen. Waziri: Physical fitness is very important for Special Forces. The Special Forces should be able to carry the heavy loads for long distances. The Special Forces exercise every morning. The Afghan Special Forces have the best physical ability.
Radio Bayan: What are the hiring conditions for youths to work in Special Forces?
Lt. Gen. Waziri: There is a special commission and we have a plan for how many personnel we require annually. We select some soldiers who are serving in Afghan National Army and explain to them the responsibility of Commando soldiers. The soldiers who want to work in Special Forces or Commando should have good physical fitness. They shouldn't have any health problem.
Radio Bayan: One in the audience asked a question about civilian casualties during operations. He asked how important is the life of civilians for you during your operations?
Lt. Gen. Waziri: When we plan an operation, from the top to the bottom and from the bottom to the top, we have some limitations and responsibilities. We always ordered our forces to prevent civilian casualties in any cost; even if it cost the life of our soldier. We should prevent the civilian casualties. In all of the orders and meetings with the President and Minister of Defense, they always emphasize the prevention of civilian casualties. We try our best to prevent civilian casualties during our operations.
Alhamdulillah, after an investigation which has done about the Special Operations, it showed that there were no civilian casualties at all, or if there was any civilian casualties it was very less and the reason was that sometime armed opposition group use civilian as human shield and it makes it difficult for the soldiers during heavy armed clash to exactly identify the civilians. But, we continue our efforts to prevent civilian casualties during our operations.
Caller from Mazar-e Sharif city: I served in ANA for four years and I have the certificate for it, now I want to serve in Special Forces unit as contractor. Is it possible or no?
Lt. Gen. Waziri: Hello to Wali Khan Brother, we always have our programs and plans of recruitment and you can contact our battalions in your region and join Special Forces. We are open to recruit those who has the condition of recruitment, we have an exam and if you passed the exam you can join Special Forces.
Caller from Nangarhar Province: We always supported ANSDF and send our sons to serve in ANSDF, we will continue our support from ANSDF. Sometime mistakes can occur. I want to ask the general that does war have any rules or on? Should we respect the rules of war or no? If the other side is fighting with small armed fires we should use small armed fires too, this is what the rules of war teaches us. The enemy is using civilians as human shield and because we are a legitimate government and accepted human rights law, we should be very cautious during our operations. ANA has lots of support among the people and if incidents such as Kunduz continue to happen it well damage the ANA picture among the people and they will lose support. It is better to be independent and do your operation based on your own information.
Lt. Gen. Waziri: Janat Gul Brother! We, Special Forces, always pay attention to prevent civilian casualties during our operation. I want to assure you that we do our 80% of our operation independently and as a general, I will never accept slavery. If someone wants to prevent me from going to the mosque or prevent my soldier from going to mosque in my corps, if I don't start Jihad - I will leave this job and will do start another occupation. I want to assure you, that we have our mosques, religious scholars, and we are on the right path and this is our homeland. We are not salves because my rank is Lieutenant General. If a US Major General wants to come to my office, he should first salute to me, and after that he should enter. The same is accurate for other countries too. This is a mutual respect among the armies. We just accepted their aids, and as honored Afghans and members of army we have contact with them. We may have some problems because there is an ongoing war, but we are trying our best to solve these problems and for this aim we issues orders on daily bases. Inshallah, we hope that with your support we solve the problems and do all of our tasks independently.
In response to our brother, Jalil Wafa, I want to say that we have all the modern equipment you mentioned, even more modern than you mentioned. Building an army is not an easy task, it need lots of time and resources. For instance, if you just wants to train a driver for car it will take about six month to train a very good driver and in the same way, it will take lots of time to train a pilot. First we should train a pilot, a technician and after that receive the aircraft. We have talented youths who are now under training and soon in the future we will have very good pilots and trained members of the army.
Caller from Farah Province: I want to appreciate the General's hard work, they are doing very good job. Just want to say that in southwest part of Farah province they have few operations. If they increase their operation in that area, it will be great. Again, I appreciate their efforts.
Lt. Gen. Waziri: Regarding the request of our brother from Farah Province, we have our plans in all over the country including Farah. We have a unit of Special Forces based in Farah and we do conduct operations after we receive accurate intelligence information from the area. I want to assure you that soon you will witness special operation not just in west part of Farah, but in all over the Farah Province.
Caller from Helmand Province: First, I want to thank the ANA particularly the Special Forces and Air Force. Their operations has been very successful yet. I want to ask the general, are we an independent country or no? Or we are part of Pakistan that Pakistan fire artillery on our country? Why doesn't our president strongly respond to artillery attacks from Pakistan. It is forty years that Pakistan kill us, why our army not responding to it?
Caller from Helmand Province: We have a good army and in the past we also had a good army. I just want to ask that is the Bilateral Security Agreement with USA just effective for internal enemies or it is effective for external enemies too? What is the difference, if another country attacks our soil, it is also our enemy, the same as they are inside the country.
Caller from Kandahar Province: I want to say that during the night raids and airstrikes, civilians suffer casualties, they should pay attention to this issue.
Lt. Gen. Waziri: Rohani Malang brother! I already answered your question, but want to add that we don't target civilians deliberately. If any soldier deliberately wounds a civilian, we have rules and laws, and we will punish him based on the law. To other brothers who asked questions about the politics, I want to say that I am not a Politician and I can't answer your questions, it is better to ask it from a politician.
Caller from Ghazni province: Why they don't provide special grants to ANA. They dedicated their life to protect our country. In the neighbor countries they respect and give lots of benefits for their army soldiers. In our army, if a soldier killed they just provide them small amount of money and after that they don't care about his family.
Lt. Gen. Waziri: We, members of army, are volunteer. No one forced us to join the army and while we join the army two elders of the community guarantee us that we will honestly serve in the army. They explain all the rules for us. We have a rule for killed and wounded soldiers. I don't accept that we don't care about wounded and killed soldiers. We provide the family the two years of salary and also a monthly salary. We also give him a plot of land in his own province. We shouldn't forget that we are in need of international community's aids. But we are hopeful that our future is bright.
Radio Bayan: Sometime operations occur in those areas which civilian exist too. In addition that military officials are carious about it, what is your suggest to the civilians? What measures they should took?
Lt. Gen. Waziri: In both fighting and peace time the life of our people is important for us. I respectfully ask our civilians to not allow insurgents in their areas and homes. Even though the insurgents hide themselves among civilians, our plans are not simple, we took everything to consideration during plan of our operation. We practice it many times. As I said, you can't find any case of civilian casualties during our operations last year.
Radio Bayan: Could you please provide us information about your successful operations?
Lt. Gen. Waziri: During the last year, we conducted more than 2,500 operations. W e conducted more than 250 special operations on special targets. ISIS-K wanted to build a cell for themselves in Afghanistan, and lots of ISIS members had come to Afghanistan. We thwarted their plans and didn't allow them to cause lots of destruction to our country and people. We have lots of achievements in Faryab, Kunduz, Ghazni, Pakitika, Helmand, and other provinces.
Radio Bayan: As you know that the election will be held in Afghanistan next year, what is the role of Special Forces for making the security for the people to vote in a secure situation for the candidate that they want?
Lt. Gen. Waziri: Government of Afghanistan has plans to hold the election for parliament and district council, the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces have different responsibilities during Election Day, the polling centers are selected and we are responsible to provide security for voters. The Special Forces will do the operations in those locations where there are lots of threats. There are Commando Forces, Special Forces, Defense Forces and we will work together on our plans.
Radio Bayan: The people of Afghanistan are worried about the security situation during this year, what is your advice for them because the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces are serving for the people of Afghanistan?
Lt. Gen. Waziri: As you know that Afghan National Defense and Security Forces are ready to defend our country and the people of Afghanistan. I request the people to have cooperation with Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. We should try to save our unity and to make the security in our country. We are trying to prevent the threats in the country and we will get the victory.
Radio Bayan: What is your plan for having a developed and strong Commando Forces in the future?
Lt. Gen. Waziri: As I mentioned that we have plan for 4 years and we are working on this plan. We will have a powerful Commando Force and Special Force. The Commando and Special Forces are equipped by modern weapons and technology.
Radio Bayan: Do the Commando Forces get education and trainings inside Afghanistan or outside of Afghanistan?
Lt. Gen. Waziri: There is a center for Commando Forces to get a high-level of education, then they will get the professional educations. After that there is a center for Special Forces to receive educations. The soldiers in other military bases also get these education and training opportunities. We send some soldiers to foreign countries to get more educations and training there. We send some others to United Kingdom, Italia, Australia and United States to get educations and training for long-periods.
Radio Bayan: Please tell us about cooperation of NATO Forces in Afghanistan that how effective their cooperation on education of Afghan National Defense and Security Forces is?
Lt. Gen. Waziri: The NATO Forces have good cooperation with Afghan Defense and Security Forces, we are working together and our work includes education, planning, logistic support, supervision and exchanging of intelligence information. The United States cooperates with us. There are the soldiers from Poland that they cooperates with us too.
Radio Bayan: How much the Afghan Air Force is developed?
Lt. Gen. Waziri: As you know that Air Forces are professional and they are working hard all over the country. The 777 Special Mission Wing and our forces do operations together, they have good ability and we are proud of them.
Radio Bayan: Please tell us about capacity and ability of Afghan National Army in fighting against the enemies and in preventing threats?
Lt. Gen. Waziri: The people of Afghanistan should be proud of the Afghan National Army. The Afghan Forces are sons of this country. Afghan National Defense and Security Forces have good capacity and ability and they are able to defend our country. The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces need the help of International Community to be with Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. This is the fighting against international terrorism and we need the assistance of International Community.