In its most recent semi-annual report to
Minister of Defense
That was in the spring. Last week, Wardak was forced to resign after the Afghan parliament voted to dismiss him because of widespread corruption in his ministry.
The looming question, though, is: After 11 years, more than 2,000 U.S. military fatalities and at least
The answer is bleak: Afghan security forces totally incapable of operating on their own, as the U.S. military quietly acknowledges. And a government so corrupt and ineffectual that, as the
Since 2002, the U.S. has spent already spent
Meantime, military trainers, almost on the sly, changed the rules. Since training began, they have measured their success by counting the number of newly trained Afghan units capable of fighting independently, without any assistance from
Well, now the training mission acknowledges that none of the Afghan forces are ready to fight on their own. The highest rating for trained Afghan forces today is "independent -- with advisors." In other words, Afghan units that can fight effectively only if U.S. or other
That's just one in a nest of problems. Another big one is illiteracy. More than two years ago, just after Lt. Gen.
Why is that important? How can an illiterate policeman read a license plate, the general asked. How can a soldier fill out a form, read an equipment manual or "calculate trajectory for field artillery?"
Two years later, the special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction, in a report two weeks ago, said "the literacy rate of" Afghan security forces "as a whole is 11 percent."
In almost every measurable way, the training mission is losing ground. In a 2010 status report, the mission said it lacked trained, competent men to serve as non-commissioned officers -- an essential need for any military. The report cited "a shortage of approximately 10,500 non-commissioned officers."
But in its report to
And then there's the so-called attrition problem, soldiers who simply don't show up. Most are deserters. That has forced
What does all of this mean?
During the early 1980s, when the
I wonder, though, if the
Aren't we in the same position as the
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(c) 2012 Distributed by Tribune Media Services