By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) - In a major move to shake up Afghanistan’s military, President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday signed the retirement orders of 164 generals.
The government described the move as part of a broader strategy for reforms in the security sector and the phasing-out of an older generation of officers.
“Putting our new military officers’ inherent law to practice, I just signed the respectful retirement of 164 generals.
"We want reforms to win the war and peace. We don’t want reforms just for the sake of reforms. This process will continue for our brighter future”, the president said in a statement on Sunday.
Under a draft law approved by the Afghan parliament in November 2017, as many as 2,000 generals and high-ranking military officers in the Afghan National Army (ANA) are sheduled to be retired in the next two years.
Despite certain reservations over the timing, there is a general consensus within the government over the move.
“This is part of reforms in the Defense Ministry and this will continue in future,” Jawed Faisal, spokesman for President Ghani’s power-sharing Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah told the local Tolo News.
After the fall of the Taliban regime, the modern Afghan National Army was formed in 2002, and currently boats about 174,000 soldiers, according to the U.S. Department of Defense, the main backer of the Afghan government.
Last year, the Afghan president upgraded the ANA’s Special Forces Unit and Special Operations Division to military corps, and vowed to increase its strength from the current 13,000 to 30,000.
Meanwhile, Ghani on Sunday also approved asecurity plan for the capital Kabul after back-to-back terrorist assaults in the capital city last month that claimed more than 200 lives.
The president called the Jan. 27 suicide car bombing “Afghanistan’s 9/11” in which over 100 people were killed outside the Ministry of Interior.