Tags: U.s | war | training | forces

Troop Review Questions American War Forces Training

Thursday, 05 November 2009 10:31 PM

WASHINGTON — A series of internal government reviews have presented the Obama administration with a dire portrait of Afghanistan’s military and police force, bringing into serious question an ambitious goal at the heart of the evolving American war strategy — to speed up their training and send many more Afghans to the fight.

As President Obama considers his top commander’s call to rapidly double Afghanistan’s security forces, the internal reviews, written by officials directly involved in the training program or charged with keeping it on track, describe an overstretched enterprise struggling to nurse along the poorly led, largely illiterate and often corrupt Afghan forces.

In September, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top American and allied commander in Afghanistan, recommended increasing the Afghan Army as quickly as possible — to 134,000 in a year from the current force of more than 90,000, instead of taking two years, and perhaps eventually to 240,000. He would also expand the police force to 160,000. The acceleration is vital to General McChrystal’s overall counterinsurgency plan, which also calls for more American troops but seeks more protection against the Taliban for the Afghan population than the Pentagon could ever supply.

While General McChrystal knew of the latest assessments when he wrote his plan, their completion just as President Obama considers the general’s proposal has given fresh ammunition to doubters.

“Nothing in our experience over the last seven to eight years suggests that progress at such a rapid pace is realistic,” said Representative John F. Tierney, the Massachusetts Democrat who is the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on national security.

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Thursday, 05 November 2009 10:31 PM
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