NATO says 900 trainers needed for Afghan forces

NATO says 900 trainers needed for Afghan forces
# 08 November 2010 17:58 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Without 900 more trainers, it will be difficult to meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s goal of having his police and soldiers take the lead in protecting and defending their country by 2014, the commander of NATO’s training mission said Monday, APA reports quoting website.
Speaking at a ceremony marking the one-year anniversary of the mission, U.S. Lt. Gen. William Caldwell highlighted progress made in training the rapidly growing Afghan security forces.
But he said that without more trainers, it would be tough to transfer the responsibility to the Afghans, allowing international troops to start pulling out.
"If you don’t have trainers, you’re going to have a challenging time transitioning," Caldwell said. "We want to develop the skills within the Afghans so that they can take the lead and be responsible for things."
The 900 additional trainers would join the 1,800 trainers already working in Afghanistan, he said. Caldwell said the coalition was especially short of trainers with special skills who can teach the Afghan security forces how to manage hospitals, for example, of fly and maintain MI-17 aircraft.
Caldwell said more than 35,000 Afghan police and 68,000 Afghan soldiers have been trained over the past year.
He remained hopeful that NATO members would pledge more trainers, possibly at an upcoming meeting of the alliance later this month in Portugal.
"Nations may be waiting to make a commitment there," he said. "We have been talking with quite a few."
Traveling in Australia, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said NATO should endorse the 2014 timeline in Lisbon.
"As a target at this point that makes sense, so I am comfortable with it," Mullen said.