Afghanistan Military - 2021


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Military and security forces

Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) are comprised of military, police, and other security elements:

Ministry of Defense: Afghan National Army ((ANA), Afghan Air Force, Afghan Army Special Security Forces (ASSF; includes ANA Special Operations Command, General Command Police Special Units (GCPSU), and the Special Mission Wing (SMW)), Afghanistan National Army Territorial Forces (ANA-TF, lightly-armed local security forces); Afghan Border Force (ABF); Afghan National Civil Order Force (ANCOF)

Ministry of Interior: Afghan Uniform (National) Police (AUP); Public Security Police (PSP); Afghan Border Police (ABP); Afghan Anti-Crime Police; Afghan Local Police; Afghan Public Protection Force; Special Security Forces

National Directorate of Security ((NDS), intelligence service) (2021)

Military expenditures

1.2% of GDP (2019)

1% of GDP (2018)

0.9% of GDP (2017)

1% of GDP (2016)

1% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 107

Military and security service personnel strengths

Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have approximately 307,000 active personnel; Ministry of Defense: 186,000; Ministry of Interior: 121,000 (Jan 2021)

note: the authorized strength of the ANDSF, the force level that the international community is willing to fund, is 352,000 personnel

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Afghan Army and Air Force inventory is mostly a mix of Soviet-era and more modern US equipment; since 2010, the US is the leading supplier of arms to Afghanistan, followed by Russia (2020)

Military service age and obligation

18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2019)

Military - note

the Afghan military focuses on internal security threats from several armed groups, particularly the Taliban and militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), al-Qa’ida, and Haqqani Network terrorist groups (see the Terrorist Organizations Appendix); the primary threat to the Afghan Government and its security forces is the Taliban, which has conducted an insurgency since the early 2000s and conducted thousands of attacks against government forces, including widespread assassinations of government employees, security officials, and society leaders; the Taliban calls itself the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan; its political and military decisions are made by a leadership council (Rahbari Shura) currently led by HAIBATULLAH Akhundzada; as of mid-2020, the group had an estimated 60-80,000 full-time fighters; in addition to their strongholds in the provinces of Helmond and Kandahar, the Taliban has conducted attacks in nearly every Afghanistan province; the Taliban has close ties to al-Qaida and the Haqqani Network

NOTE: The information regarding Afghanistan on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Afghanistan 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Afghanistan 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.