NATO Falls Far Short of Helping US-Led Afghan War

Pledges for Trainers Fail to Materialize

Every time a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan is announced, the centerpiece is a massive training program that, in another decade or so, might produce enough of a domestic security force to fight the growing insurgency.

The pledges are normally easy to secure, as many NATO member states see trainers as less politically controversial than combat troops. But NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen says they are facing a major shortfall, as many of the promised trainers just never showed up.

In fact, one NATO official says they are short about 2,500 trainers, with many European nations delivering only a handful of teams after pledging to provided scores of them.

Training Afghan security forces, particularly police, is a tricky matter. The pay is low, the job is dangerous, and the turnover rate is enormous. Even when the training programs were fully manned in 2008, one of the leaders of the program called it a “miserable failure” and warned that it would take 82 years to properly train a police force.

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.