News / Asia

More Military Trainers Needed in Afghanistan

Coalition forces pressed to fill gap in trainers needed to help growing Afghan Army and Police forces

Al Pessin

The U.S. Navy admiral who commands all NATO forces worldwide says he and the alliance secretary general are pressing each member to fulfill a specific part of the shortfall in military trainers in Afghanistan.  The admiral spoke at a U.S. Senate hearing, where senior members from both parties criticized NATO allies for the shortage. 

Admiral James Stavridis gave the Senate Armed Services Committee specific numbers.  He said the NATO-run command in Afghanistan needed 1,278 trainers for the growing Afghan Army and Police forces, but it has so far received only 541 - a shortfall of 737.

"It is absolutely correct to say that NATO has fallen short in providing these vital trainers.  What we are doing about it is taking further steps in terms of contacting each of the nations individually and going one-by-one through the precise requirement for each of the nations in terms of where they could most effectively fill in the trainer mix," Stavridis said.

The shortage of trainers comes at a time when Afghan Army recruiting is sharply up, due in part to a significant salary increase the Kabul government implemented late last year.  

The committee chairman, Democrat Carl Levin, said the training commander in Afghanistan told him some of the Afghan recruits cannot enter the army immediately due to the lack of trainers.

"That is totally unacceptable, almost unbelievable to me, that we can not get NATO allies to carry out that kind of commitment, which is not the most dangerous.  There is obviously danger anywhere, but compared to being in combat it falls well short of that," Levin said.

Admiral Stavridis said he and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen are working hard on the issue.

"We will continue to hammer away at this until we fulfill that commitment.  And I will continue to place it, as I told you Senator Levin, at the top of my priority list," Stavidis said.

The admiral said overall the NATO effort is "on track," and that member nations have committed 9,500 of the 10,000 additional troops they were supposed to provide, to fight and train Afghans alongside the 30,000 more U.S. troops heading for Afghanistan.  

But the senior Republican on the Senate committee, former presidential candidate John McCain, challenged the admiral's numbers, because 2,000 Dutch troops are scheduled to withdraw by August.
 
"So, we are really not on track then.  I mean, it is nice to say but if you are going to lose 2,000 Dutch troops, who are, by the way, great fighters from my visits, it is not 9,500.  It is closer to 7,500," McCain said.

And the senator said even some of those NATO troop pledges are have "not been firmed up yet."

Admiral Stavridis indicated the need for NATO trainers in Afghanistan is not likely to end soon.  He said the goal is for the Afghan Army to reach 300,000 and the police force to grow to 100,000, and he said he expects recruitment to remain strong for at least several more months.  The admiral said a key focus now is to convince those recruits to stay in the army after their initial commitments end.   

Building the Afghan forces is a key element in the effort to reach President Barack Obama's goal of starting to transfer security responsibility to the Afghans by July of next year.

At the hearing, Admiral Stavridis also acknowledged that 20 of the 42 countries with troops in Afghanistan continue to put restrictions, or caveats, on their activities, in spite of years of U.S. pressure to end that practice.  Stavridis said some of the caveats are "very restrictive" and he is continuing to press the countries involved to reduce or end them.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid