Is NATO Training an Afghan Military or Simply Cannon Fodder?

Top British Officials Warn Afghan Soldier Training Getting Worse

As the Obama Administration continues to mull over even more ambitious goals for increasing the size of the already ungainly large Afghan military, it is becoming less and less clear if NATO is really creating a military, or just cannon fodder.

British officials are cautioning that, as NATO continues to shorten the length of training for soldiers who were already far from productive, they are “walking a tightrope” and could easily end up training these forces as “cannon fodder.”

At the same time, the head of Britain’s training contingent insists the goal isn’t to turn the Afghan soldiers into anything on the level of the foreign militaries, and that right now “they’re good enough to take on and beat the Taliban.”

Despite this claim, they don’t seem to be beating the Taliban much of any place these days, and with the US unwilling to consider any sort of time frame for leaving while looking to create a military that is such a massive portion of the Afghan population that the nation could never possibly afford the upkeep without foreign aid, it seems that the cannon fodder aspect is less an accident of incompentent planning and more a part of a strategy that will keep the war going more or less indefinitely.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.