NATO needs hundreds of trainers in Afghanistan

10:43, May 18, 2010      

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International troops in Afghanistan face a shortfall of hundreds of trainers who are supposed to train the Afghan security forces, James Stavridis, NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe said Monday in Washington.

Stavridis said Afghanistan needs about 5,200 trainers, and roughly 3,600 are on the ground. NATO's share of the overall training mission is 1,600.

"Right now, I've got on the ground or committed 1,150" trainers, he said. "So, I need 450" more.

The training mission in Afghanistan, Stavridis said, is his highest priority.

He said that as he works with NATO nations' defense chiefs to fill the shortfall, U.S. soldiers will step in to bridge the training gap.

Success in Afghanistan depends on whether Afghan army and police can take over the security mission, he added.

U.S. President Barack Obama has put in motion a surge plan for the unpopular Afghan war. He ordered an increase of 30,000 troops into that country by summer, eyeing the beginning of withdrawal next July, which depends largely upon whether Afghan security forces will be able to take over the security responsibilities.



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