February 28 marks Armed Forces Day, which is not being celebrated for the past two consecutive years in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime.
Afghanistan’s former president Ashraf Ghani issued a decree in 2017, and named February 28, as Armed Forces Day, aimed at supporting the country’s national security forces – which was approved by the then cabinet members.
In 2003, the National Army of Afghanistan for the first time after years of turmoil and political conflict was established with the support of the United States and NATO member states.
The formation of the Afghan army in a relatively shorter time span in terms of the number of soldiers, employees, weapons and military equipment was well developed. The number of Afghan soldiers reached 352,000 in 2013, which was equal to that of the Pakistani army then.
The countries which had close cooperation with the Afghan army in terms of training and logistic services included the United States, France, Turkiye, Switzerland, Tajikistan, England, China, Italy, India, Russia, Nepal, Spain, Pakistan, and Poland. Nearly 1000 army personnel used to gain military training in different countries annually.
As per the existing reports, over the past two decades (2001-2021), more than 66,000 soldiers were killed in the fight against terrorist groups and militants throughout Afghanistan.
Eventually, in 2021, Afghanistan’s 350,000 armed forces equipped with sophisticated weapons and military equipment disintegrated, and the Islamic Emirate entered Kabul after 20 years of fighting with Afghan forces.
Over the past years, February 28, knowns as Armed Forces Day was celebrated with enthusiasm, in which the people of Afghanistan and government organizations would appreciate the achievements of the Afghan armed forces.
With the re-emergence of the Taliban regime, this day is no longer celebrated in Afghanistan, however, ordinary people still commemorate the day by posting Afghan soldiers’ pictures on their social media accounts.