20 December 2009

A bleak outlook for the Afghan "army"

The Stars and Stripes has a rough outlook on the Afghan Army, with some harsh words from the soldiers on the front lines.

Tomorrow, Afghanistan’s homegrown soldiers might be ready to take over the fight against the Taliban, so that American forces can begin to come home as President Barack Obama hopes.

But today, they are far from ready. Even the best Afghan units lack training, discipline and adequate reinforcements. In one new unit in Baghlan Province, soldiers have been found cowering ditches rather than fight. Others routinely steal U.S.-supplied fuel, equipment and weapons. And a few are suspected of collaborating with the Taliban against the Americans.

“I do not feel I am a mentor here,” said Capt. Jason Douthwaite, a logistics officer with the 73rd Troop Command of the Ohio National Guard who has tried to stop rampant pilfering by the Afghan soldiers his unit is training. “I feel like I am an investigating officer. It’s not, ‘Let me teach you your job.’ It’s more like, ‘How much did you steal from the American government today?’"

By: Brant

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