Friday, October 19, 2007

More Trainers for Afghan Security Forces

Update: The Latest Afghan Poll (thanks Anand)

More Trainers in Pipeline for Afghan Security Forces

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2007 – The number of internationally supplied trainers for Afghanistan's soldiers and police is slated to quadruple, as the number and capabilities of those security forces continues to grow, a senior U.S. military officer told Pentagon reporters here yesterday.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak speaks during a Pentagon news conference on the ongoing security and training operations in Afghanistan, Oct. 18, 2007. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Molly A. Burgess, USN

(Click photo for screen-resolution image); high-resolution image available.
Plans are to augment the 22 training teams already operating across Afghanistan with another 80 teams, Army Maj. Gen. Robert W. Cone, the commanding general of Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan, told reporters.

Boosting the number of qualified instructors that train Afghanistan's soldiers and police is among that country's key security-related needs, Cone said. Several nations provide personnel for the training teams, he said, noting that each team has about 16 people.

"My charter, with the leadership of the Ministry of Defense and the Afghan army, is to build a quality force that is capable of defending Afghanistan," said Cone, who has held his current command for about four months.

Afghan Minister of Defense Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak accompanied Cone at the news conference. The two leaders are in Washington to confer with senior U.S. government officials.

The Afghan National Army has about 50,000 soldiers, Cone said. That force, he added, is slated to increase to 70,000 troops by the end of 2008. Training emphasis will now be shifted from individual instruction to the training of larger units like battalions and brigades, he said. continued

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