Afghan Defense Minister, Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak said on Tuesday that the Afghan security forces (ANSF) will likely be reduced from its peak strength of 352000 to 230000 after the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. This will be a significant reduction in the Afghan National Security Forces. Now, some might argue that these 122000 personnel will be unemployed. No, they will not. The question is who will continue employing them beyond 2014? The Taliban is longing for an opportunity like that. These ANSF personnel will have the skills to fight in a time when they’ll be furious at the Afghan government for taking away their jobs and career. What is the solution then? “If something is unsustainable, either you have to find the resources to sustain it or you have to reduce the size of the project.” Quotes a New York Times article from a senior western official in Kabul. Sooner or later, the international donations will inevitably taper off and dry eventually. It’s extremely important for Afghanistan to bring about big changes, and I mean big, to prepare for 2014 and beyond and more importantly to avoid a potential civil war in the country– now is a good time to start this since the international coalition forces will be there to intervene if anything goes wrong in the process of bringing these changes. Depending on how large of an Afghan security forces the international alliance agrees to continue supporting in Chicago Summit next month, Afghanistan will have to make some serious decisions. Just a few thoughts on this: First of all, President Karzi should get rid of all those gangsters in the ministries of interior, defense and commerce along with others. It will be a challenging task for the president but there’s no way he can move forward. It’s like running hard but standing still without making any progress with these corrupt officials’ involvement in his government. Karzai wants to keep everyone happy by giving them what they want but that’s how it works. The president will have built trust between his government and the public by doing so. Now, that the number of ANSF has not reached 352000 yet, we should stop increasing it. Instead of wasting that money on training, equipping and giving salaries to them that cannot be sustained beyond 2014, the money can be used more wisely by investing in the National Directorate of Security (NDS) or the Afghan intelligence agency and the existing ANSF personnel. They should work on the quality rather than quantity. A stronger and higher number of NDS means less insurgent activities and with the help and coordination of our current well-trained ANSF there will be better security. And as a final point, I think it’ll be wise for the Afghan government to focus on developing strategies for economic growth and independence and create more jobs for people including bridging any unemployment gaps that the ANSF may have undergone. Private local businesses should be strongly encouraged so that it creates more jobs and it generates and spends money locally. Improving private businesses is a good way of sustainable development and it’s dwarfed by the international donations in the long term. To conclude, by removing druglords and corrupt officials from the government, training the current ANSF and investing more on NDS and focusing on private business development and economic growth I think we will survive and the Central Asia doesn’t have to be afraid.