Report: Kabul calls US assessment of Afghan forces 'baseless'

Members of Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense refuted findings by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) claiming Kabul won't be able to maintain its network of military and police outposts after the American withdrawal, according to local news reports. 

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The SIGAR report, released Wednesday, cited numerous shortfalls in base support operations by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). 

From the lack of qualified personnel to support the bases to not having enough equipment and supplies to do the job, ANSF units will likely leave many bases partially complete or abandon the installations altogether once U.S. forces depart, the report states. 

In response, Afghan officials characterized the SIGAR findings as "baseless," declining to comment on the details of the report or on what efforts Kabul was taking to ensure the bases will be ready when American units head home. 

U.S. officials have funneled millions into revamping military infrastructure for the ANSF, including an $800 million contract issued in 2010. 

Under that deal, the U.S. Corps of Engineers granted $450 million to build and refurbish 262 Afghan army and police installations in northern Afghanistan, according to the SIGAR report. Another $350 million was awarded to construct an additional 218 bases for the ANSF in the southern part of the country, U.S. inspectors said. 

The network of military bases and outposts across Afghanistan will be the hubs for security, stability and counterrrorism operations run by the ANSF.

These Afghan bases will also house U.S. and NATO military advisers and special operations forces who will be left in Afghanistan once the main American and coalition fighting force leaves the country.

However, Afghanistan's Defense and Interior Ministries do not have the numbers, experience or the money to support that network of military base network, the report claims. 

That said, NATO commanders expect Afghan forces will run out of funding for the bases in northern Afghanistan by the 2014 withdrawal deadline. 

Aside from those installations in the north, the continued troubles within the Afghan government, "will likely prohibit [Afghanistan] from being capable of fully sustaining ANSF facilities after the transition in 2014 and the expected significant decrease in U.S. and coalition support," the report states.