Training the Afghan army

Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – opinion: Training the Afghan army —Brian Cloughley

Brian Cloughley warned last September:

‘In Kabul last week, “an American service member and an Afghan police officer got into an argument because the American was drinking water in front of the Afghan police, who are not eating or drinking…because of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan…[The policeman] shot the American and seriously wounded him, while other American troops responded and seriously wounded the [policeman].” This depressing cameo encapsulates the problem for foreign troops in Afghanistan. And it shows the problems that Afghans have with ignorant foreigners whose boorish insensitivity would be laughable were it not so dangerous. . . . In Afghanistan the training course is ten weeks, and 90 percent of recruits are illiterate and language-incompatible with their peers, let alone the foreigners. Afghan instructors are keen but barely effective and the logistics system is a tattered joke. Some foreign instructors may be good, but most are depressingly ignorant of language, culture and customs. It is reported that “As part of the Obama administration’s surge, the 4th Brigade of the 82nd Airborne is being deployed to serve as trainers. This brigade is a regular Army brigade not specifically structured for the advisory mission.” My case rests.’

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3 Responses

  1. Brian Cloughley's description of some of the insurmountable facing "trainers" in Afghanistan is frightening. To imagine that the U.S. will be able to change the facts and minds on the ground in Afghanistan by sending additional troops/trainers is dangerously hubristic (if there is such a word), and certainly delusional.

  2. The turnover in the Afghan army is around 25%. This means continual training of new recruits and the likelyhood that the army would never be battle ready. Add to that the number of Taliban infiltrates and agents provocateurs flocking to the army, it's another foreign/military policy disaster.

  3. shows the problems that Afghans have with ignorant foreigners. Strange conclusion, considering that the Afghan shot the American for taking a drink of water! Any reasonable observer would have concluded that the incident shows the problems that foreigners have with uncivilized Afghans, being intellectually crippled and ethically inhumane, not only to foreigners in particular but also to all women in general, by their strict adherence to religious dogma and sacrosanct tribal rites. iow, try to imagine the Afghan soldier wandering around NYC or London! True enough, the incident does illustrate the challenge of training, or more accurately said, "civilizing" Afghan people, many of whom are profoundly primitive – but it is not a judgement of the foreigner attempting to do so, save in the eyes of this biased beholder, Brian Cloughley.

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