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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid