Washington: A US military review in
Afghanistan has concluded that the addition of over 1,000 new
American and NATO troops has helped stabilise efforts to build
the country`s security forces, but attrition rates, as high as
70 per cent could still hinder long-term success.
The assessment by US Army Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell
IV, who heads the NATO training effort in Afghanistan, found
that the attrition rate in the Civil Order Police was about 70
The figure was lower than it was at the end of 2009,
but still "unacceptable and unsustainable," Washington Post
quoted Caldwell`s report as saying.
The Afghan army has missed its attrition goals for two
of the past four months, a vast improvement over last fall and
winter, when the army was consistently failing to meet its
Caldwell, however, said attrition still remains too
high in the south and east, where Afghan forces are engaged in
the heaviest fighting.
To fix the problem, US and Afghan officials are
weighing the possibility of increasing combat pay and giving
soldiers a break from battle, the report which is expected to
be released soon, said.
"We are working real hard to set up a system to rotate
units" out of areas where combat is heaviest, Caldwell said.
US war plans depend on Afghan forces maintaining.
security in areas of southern and eastern Afghanistan, where
the American military is adding 30,000 troops this summer.
More broadly, the Obama administration`s counterinsurgency
strategy places a heavy emphasis on an expansion of the Afghan
security forces before the United States begins to withdraw
troops in July 2011.
US commanders have said the performance of Afghan
police and army forces in Kandahar, the country`s second-
largest city, is essential to the military campaign planned
for the area this summer.
There are concerns that, as fighting with the Taliban
increases, recruitment and retention could suffer.
To ensure continued progress, the report states that
the number of military trainers must continue to grow. "In
order to increase the probability of success, additional
personnel are required," the report says.
Earlier this spring, the Pentagon rushed to fill a
near-term training shortage by deploying about a battalion of
troops for about three months. Over the longer term, the
military is depending on its NATO coalition partners to deploy
as many as 750 additional police and army trainers.
US officials are cautiously optimistic that they
will get most of those trainers and that the increase in
instruction will lead to an overall improvement in the force.