Pub – No Moment of Victory – NATO in Afghanistan

No Moment of Victory

A new publication entitled No Moment of Victory: The NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan, 2009 -2011, by Martin Loicano and Craig C. Felker, examines the mission and accomplishments of the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan (NTM-A). This command grew to become over 6,000 personnel strong from many different nations.

NTM-A would expand the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) from around 110,000 soldiers and police to a total force of 352,000 by 2012. While the effort demonstrated the operational excellence of the officers, NCOs, and civilians within NTM-A it also reflected the inability of that same coalition to break from its Western centric traditions to develop an effective strategic plan to develop sustainable, effective Afghan security forces.

In addition, NTM-A and other organizations within the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and later Resolute Support (RS) failed to eliminate the many problems that the ANSF experienced. These included pervasive corruption from top to bottom, ghost soldiers, poor training, inadequate logistical system, and poor maintenance programs. Most important of all was the inability to train and place good leadership within the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army at all levels. These problems were found within the security institutions as well – the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense.

This comprehensive report draws many conclusions. One of them is that the NATO training mission was an international effort of ‘outsiders’ aiming to shape the Afghan government and security forces to suit Western standards and biases. The NATO and partner nations involved in the training effort did not realize that outsiders have a limited ability to shape local societies and improve institutional capacity and capability. Especially in Afghanistan.


  • Introduction
  • Afghan Forces in History: 1900 – 2001
  • Advising Precedents and the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan
  • 2009 – 2010: Building the Plane While Flying It
  • 2010: “No Trainers, No Transition”
  • 2011: NTM-A Vision Meets the Challenges of Reality
  • The Imperiled Road to Transition
  • ANA: The Limits of Professionalism
  • ANP: The Security Paradox
  • Conclusion

The authors served with NTM-A during the 2009 to 2011 timeframe as Command Historians. They had a close-up view of the organization and the work that it was doing. They were present for many of the high-level meetings within NTM-A and ISAF and interacted with all of the staff sections. In addition, they spent much time touring Afghanistan visiting Afghan operational units and training institutions at all levels.

This book examines the NATO coalition efforts to build Afghan Army and police forces with the objective of transitioning the war to Afghan control. It also offers a cautionary account of the limits of Western military practices and culture in security force assistance.


No Moment of Victory: The NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan, 2009 -2011, by Martin Loicano and Craig C. Felker, Air University Press, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, September 2021, PDF, 384 pages.
Access online or download here from Air University website.