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By F. Michael Maloof

WASHINGTON – There are increasing indications that large numbers of the Western-trained and financed Afghan National Army, or ANA, and Afghan National Police, or ANP, officers could defect to the Taliban once U.S. and coalition forces leave Afghanistan, regional analysts have said in a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Military forces of the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, are slated to leave Afghanistan in 2014, although U.S. troops would begin to phase out combat operations in 2013.

By the end of 2014, the intent is to have some 350,000 Afghan soldiers and police officers trained to provide security as coalition forces diminish their presence in the country.

Mullah Nazeer Ahmad, a top Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan commander, also confirmed to sources that members of the ANA and ANP planned to defect.

The TTP, or Pakistani Taliban, has extensive influence in areas of Afghanistan bordering Pakistan.

The possible defections will help ensure that the Taliban regains control over Afghanistan, which it lost following the U.S. invasion of the country in October 2001.

Such a development would completely undermine the tremendous investment of the West, especially by the U.S., of hundreds of billions of dollars in military equipment, training and construction of facilities in preparing Afghan security forces to assume security responsibility.

Taliban sources in Pakistan have told the Asia Times that they expect major defections from the ANA and ANP.

Taliban sources said that ANA and ANP commanders had expressed a willingness to defect and join the Taliban with their arms intact.

In response, the Taliban will avoid attacking the Afghan security forces and focus instead on U.S. and coalition troops even though they are preparing to depart.

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