MPs: Army Chief Focused on Rivalries, Not War

Findings by a parliamentary committee indicate that the newly appointed chief of army staff for Afghanistan, Gen. Wali Ahmadzai, has been focusing on rivalries with corps commanders instead of managing the fight against the Taliban.

The army general was appointed to the post a month ago, replacing former chief of army staff Gen. Yasin Zia, as the Taliban was taking over as many as a dozen districts each day. He was expected to lead the fight against militants, focus on training and equipping Afghan forces and to implement major military plans.

The internal security committee of the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of Parliament, said that Gen. Ahmadzai has fallen short of fulfilling his responsibilities and that during his time he has been focused on rivalries with members of the army corps instead of managing the war.

“We hoped that the appointment of the army chief would lead to some progress, but unfortunately, he is focused on rivalries against those who replaced him in (previous positions). This is not the time for rivalry,” said Khan Agha Rezaee, the head of Parliament’s internal security committee.

Ahmadzai began his service as an army commander in 1986. In 2015 he was appointed the commander of 215 Maiwand Corps. Three years later he was appointed the commander of 209 Shaheen Corps. He was there for 18 months. Later he was appointed the commander of 215 Atal Corps and then served as the general director of the national public protection force.

He was the commander of 201 Selab Corps before being appointed the army chief.

Sources said that Gen. Ahmadzai has not maintained effective relationships with army corps commanders who replaced him in his previous posts.

After taking charge Ahamdzai vowed to fix the fragile security situation in the country.

“We accept that the situation has deteriorated,” Ahmadzai said last month. “We lost some territory but we continue discussions about our next plans and programs.”

A military analyst said that rifts between the army chief and commanders of the army corps will cause the situation to further deteriorate.

“We will face defeat if we don’t have at least common views on the management of the war,” military analyst Jawed Kohistani said.

The Ministry of Defense, however, denied the findings.

“The army chief, in line with the prevailing laws of the country and the military principles, is working day and night for the better management of the war. There are no rivalry or rifts against anyone,” said Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai.