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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs