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Two daredevil Generals chosen to lead Afghan army in fresh offensive against Taliban

Gen. Hibatullah Alizai being warmly greeted by Gen. Sami Sadat

In a major reshuffle at the top level of the Afghan National Army, two young and dare devil  officers have taken charge of the regular armed forces and special units. Amid continued Taliban advances in the war-ravaged country,  Gen. Hibatullah Alizai was appointed as chief of the armed forces. Simultaneously Gen. Sami Sadat apexed  the army's Special Forces. According to  Afghan sources, these two young generals of the Afghan army have been creating havoc in the ranks of the Taliban.

The great bonhomie and camaraderie between the two generals are reflected in this tweet posted by Gen. Sami Sadat.

“Great to get a surprise visit by my brother General Haibat Alizai CG of ANASOC, Alizai is humble, fearless and a committed military leader. Thank you, brother, for your continued support to southern Afghanistan’.

In a sudden move Afghan president and Commander in chief Ashraf Ghani   “relieved”  acting Defence minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi and sacked army chief General Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai on Wednesday. Instead, he appointed General Haibatullah Alizai as the new Chief of staff.

It is said that in a war, tactics keep changing according to the ground realities. Strategic appreciation also needs regular review.  As per reports, part of Afghanistan's military is undergoing a reshuffle to tackle the growing influence of the Taliban  in the region.

Afghan army is perhaps the “youngest” army of any republic. According to the Afghan sources, Ghani has realised that he had two big challenges: first reorganise his 3 lakhs plus the army under his control  and recapture the fallen areas from the Taliban. With this realisation, the Afghan President  made some bold changes. First, was to get rid of some “old”  beliefs that no longer worked. As a result,  he engaged with the warlords who hate the Taliban. Second, he started leading in a completely new way by giving more power to young generals.

In passing the baton of military leadership to the next generation, Ghani appointed 35-year-old, Alizai   as the army chief. Gen. Alizai has pursued his military education in the UK and the US, where he trained as a marine commando.  

In a tweet Gen. Alizai said: “I assure you. First I will die, then whatever happens, it will happen”.

Gen. Sadat, the 36-year-old commander of Afghan special forces, has been holding up against the Taliban assault in Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southern province of Helmand. On Wednesday, the day when Ghani and Dostum headed for Mazar-e-Sharif to defend the northern Afghan city, Sadat was promoted to head the Afghan National Army commandos. Earlier he was heading the  215 Maiwand Afghan Army Corps at Lashkar Gah. According to AFP, Sadat, a graduate of  London's prestigious King's College, was trained by the US and NATO forces in the US, Germany, UK as a marine commando.

"I know this is our country, that the Taliban are failing, that they will fail sooner or later," he told AFP. "Any Taliban who comes to Lashkar Gah will die or leave disabled for life," he said.


The  flamboyant,  social media savvy commando, with over 12 thousand followers means 'business” and has participated in many operations against the Taliban. According to AFP, he has asked  every resident to leave Lashkar Gah as his men  have been going house-to-house to secure neighbourhoods captured by the Taliban in the city. "We still find civilians — especially the elderly and trapped women — who we take to safer places," he told AFP.

Meanwhile, the interior minister of Afghanistan, General Abdul Satar Mirzakwal told Al Jazeera that Afghan army is working on a three phased plan after reorganising its forces. The immediate focus is to secure life line highways, border crossings ang big cities. 

“The first is to stop the defeats [of the government forces], the second is to re-gather our forces to create security rings around the cities and  we’re bringing those soldiers  back to their posts who had abandoned their posts. . The third is to begin offensive operations,” Mirzakwal  told Al Jazeera.

Also Read: Ghani and Dostum lead from the front to save Mazar-e-Sharif, the soul of Afghanistan