Heart: The commander of NATO`s mission to train Afghanistan`s security forces has warned it will need years of support from foreign powers and the Afghan government to be a long-term success.
Lieutenant-General William Caldwell indicated that several thousand international trainers could be needed to support the mission until at least 2020 in an interview with a news agency.
All foreign combat troops will leave Afghanistan by the
end of 2014 in a process that started last month and will
require the Afghan army and police to play an ever-greater
role in fighting the Taliban insurgency.
But Caldwell also said that President Hamid Karzai`s
government needed to make progress on governance and justice
in Afghanistan to help sustain the efforts of NTM-A (NATO
Training Mission Afghanistan).
"I am very confident that the Afghans can in fact take
the lead for security by December 2014 -- there`s no question
they can do it," Caldwell said.
"But it will require two things in order to make sure
that happens. One is the international community has to remain
committed to this mission.
"If we start a precipitous withdrawal of monetary and
trainer support, that could impede that ability.
"And the second thing is the Afghan government has to be
committed to this. Right now they are, but if for some reason
they waver and they don`t continue to do what they`re doing
then that would call into question whether we can make it
The US three-star general is expected to leave
Afghanistan within a couple of months, after leading NTM-A
since its establishment in late 2009.
His job is seen as one of the most important in
Afghanistan and NTM-A has a budget of 11.6 billion USD for
this year alone.
The Afghan Army and police have been recruited and
trained rapidly, growing from around 190,000 in late 2009 to
305,000 today. That figure is due to rise again to 352,000 by