Afghanistan: December 2, 2002


  The government announced plans to form a 70,000 man army as soon as possible. But that won't be soon enough. So far, US and French trainers have created four 400 man infantry battalions. ISAF has trained another battalion for use in patrolling Kabul. But the new army will comprise over 200 battalions and smaller units. One suggestion is to select and train older Afghans as officers and NCO trainers so that troops can be trained faster. It takes about ten weeks to train recruits to minimal standards, and attrition (from recruits who can't handle it) is high (often up to 50 percent). At this rate, it will take 2-3 years to form a 70,000 man force. And in the meantime, warlords rule much of the country. Disarming the warlords will be difficult. 


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