May 19, 2010

VIETNAMIZATION:

The bright spot among Afghan woes (MICHAEL O'HANLON, 5/19/10, Politico)

A good way to understand what is going right in Afghanistan, rather than fixate on the Karzai government’s limitations, is to spend a few days in the field watching the Afghan army in its recruiting, training and operational planning. I had this opportunity last week. [...]

Literacy training is provided to the new Afghan soldiers, for only 11 percent are estimated to be literate. Pay has roughly doubled this year, which helps with retention as well as recruiting.

There are still equipment shortages for the Afghan security forces, but that is partly due to the inevitable slowness of the U.S. contracting system. These shortfalls are now being rapidly reduced.

New courses have been created for Afghan noncommissioned officers, the leaders crucial to any good military’s performance in the field. Graduates of Afghanistan’s military officer academy, who would have previously been steered to safe jobs by political allies, are now deployed where they are most needed -- in the field.

As a result, the Afghan army is now on track to reach its interim goal of 134,000 troops by this fall, and an ultimate size of roughly 171,000 by next year.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 19, 2010 4:37 PM
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