Afghanistan sets up Territorial Army to strengthen countrywide security: gov't

Li Jiayao

KABUL, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Afghan Defense Ministry has planned to establish a Territorial Army within the insurgency-hit country's national army, to further tighten security across the Central Asian country.

The main aim of the plan, expected to group 36,000 personnel, was to change the war situation from defensive to offensive, expand security throughout the volatile regions including highways and to protect key government establishments against the enemies, Gen. Dawlat Waziri, the defense ministry spokesman, was quoted in a statement posted on the ministry's website as saying.

"Of the rough figure, 28,000 personnel with the ages of between 20 and 40, would be recruited from among the area residents, while the remaining 7,500 military experts and veterans from the national army," said the spokesman.

"The Territorial Army recruits' salaries are considered to be equivalent to the 75 percent of the salaries of other personnel of the national army. They would moreover, enjoy all health essentials and spiritual privileges," Waziri added.

According to Waziri, former personnel of the security and defense forces who have successfully completed at least one period of their military services and were discharged or failed to rejoin the national army due to some certain reasons, could be recruited in the territorial army forces and enjoy similar payment.

"The Territorial Army forces, either under the full or partial control of the government in close cooperation with the national army would be deployed to prevent the enemy influence into the cleared areas, and to secure relations between the government and the people," said the spokesman.

In mid-2010, the government established the Afghan Local Police (ALP), or community police, to protect villages and districts where army and police have limited presence.

The announcement came as six people were killed and 22 others injured in three separate attacks elsewhere in the country.


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