US Lieutenant General William Caldwell is warning today that NATO is still far short of the number of trainers needed for its escalated training mission, saying that they need at least 900 additional trainers in the next few months.
The US-led mission in Afghanistan has upwards of 150,000 troops now, but has constantly fallen short of metrics on training, owing both to a shortage of trainers and high levels of attrition among recruits. Jobs with the Afghan security forces don’t pay particularly well and are extremely dangerous, which has always struggled with recruitment.
According to Lt. Gen. Caldwell, if the situation doesn’t improve, the 2014 transition to Afghan control over security operations, itself purely speculative, will have to be pushed back even further. “No trainers, no transition,” Caldwell warned.
Since the 2001 US invasion, officials have repeatedly escalated the number of international troops as well as increasing the size they hope the Afghan security forces to eventually reach. Lost in this is that Afghanistan, an extremely poor country, has no way of keeping such a large portion of its population in the military over the long term. This means the US is likely committed not just to many more years of occupation but to an open-ended funding mission.
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