Tags: US | US | Afghanistan | Army

Report: US Overestimated Ability of Afghans

Monday, 28 Jun 2010 11:48 PM

 

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

The U.S. has often overestimated the ability of Afghan military and police units to fight on their own, according to an independent report released Monday that calls into question the strategy to win the war and bring troops home.

The investigation is the first objective look at the rating system the military has used for the past five years to judge the effectiveness of Afghan troops. Its findings seem to contradict upbeat assessments recently provided by senior military commanders overseeing the war.

The capability of Afghan forces is considered the single biggest indicator of whether the war is going well and is seen as the linchpin in the U.S. strategy since the war began more than eight years ago.

Lawmakers are likely to use the latest findings to question President Barack Obama's handling of the war. Democrats say they are frustrated that Obama is sending more U.S. troops into combat without assurances that Afghan forces are close behind.

"I think the worst nightmare for the Taliban is an Afghan army in charge," said Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who chairs the Armed Services Committee.

The U.S. has spent $27 billion on the effort — about half of the money its poured into rebuilding Afghanistan. But the program has been hobbled by a lack of trainers, available Afghans and spikes in violence.

"The bottom line to this is that the system ... is flawed, it's unreliable and it's inconsistent," said Arnold Fields, who led the study as the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.

Two weeks before he was fired by Obama, Gen. Stanley McChrystal told reporters that "their growth is on track" and "we're ahead of the plan." But the report found that the system used to judge that success was deeply flawed. In some cases, units with the same rating would have different abilities. Also, highly rated units often regressed as soon as U.S. mentors withdrew.

In one stark example, a police district in the northern Afghan province of Baghlan was given the top rating by NATO officials in August 2008. The "CM1" designation meant the police were independently capable of conducting operations. But when investigators asked to visit the district in February, they were told the district wasn't secure and was overrun with insurgents.

One official told investigators that the police force had "withered away to the point that it barely functions."

Levin said the U.S. should use a delay in major operations in the southern town of Kandahar until more Afghan troops can deploy to the fight. He called it "totally unacceptable" that there are only about 5,300 Afghan forces in Kandahar and 6,900 coalition troops being led by the U.S.

Fields said that the NATO headquarters in Afghanistan was briefed on his findings in March. Officials agreed in April to change the rating system.

In a written response to the report, NATO says it has made significant progress in both training Afghan forces and measuring their effectiveness in recent months.

Lt. Gen. Bill Caldwell, who heads the training mission in Afghanistan, said that NATO has suffered a severe shortage in trainers with some facilities on the verge of shutting down.

"Building an enduring and self-sustaining force remains a distinct challenge and attainment of the growth objectives is not assured," Caldwell wrote in a letter to investigators.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Obama Sought Immigration Order for 'Fullest Extent' of His Legal Authority

Friday, 28 Nov 2014 22:11 PM

Months before his landmark announcement about executive action on immigration, President Barack Obama entered into disc . . .

Rick Perry Revs Up Campaign for 2016

Friday, 28 Nov 2014 21:33 PM

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will spend his last month in office meeting with more than 500 major GOP bundlers and donors in De . . .

Pope Francis Heads to Istanbul in Symbolic Visit

Friday, 28 Nov 2014 21:21 PM

Pope Francis on Saturday heads to Istanbul for the second leg of his first trip to Turkey, in a richly-symbolic visit se . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved