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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    Party's presumptive presidential nominee, her vice presidential pick deliver optimistic message in Florida as they campaign for first time together

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora