Tue Jul 22, 8:13 PM ET
The US teams in charge of training security forces in Afghanistan are short of some 2,300 trainers to set up a national police force, team commander Major General Robert Cone said.
“The Afghan police are several years behind the Afghan Army,” the commander of the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan said in a video news conference from Afghanistan.
There is a “shortage in the police training mission … right now the number is about 2,300 police trainers that we are short,” said Cone, who heads an 8,000-strong team: 3,000 civilians and 5,000 military personnel, including 800 coalition members.
“We think it is a joint responsibility of all the (15) nations contributing” to the coalition forces, he said, adding that Britain, Canada, the Netherlands and Germany “are considering increasing their commitment” to the training force.
Earlier this year, the United States deployed some 1,200 marines to help train security forces in Afghanistan.
“They are temporarily filling our police training requirement,” Cone said. “If they’re not replaced (when their tour of duty ends) it will contribute to the shortfall.”
Currently, the Afghan national army consists of 63,000 soldiers, and is expected to expand to 80,000 by the end of the year. The Afghan police force has 79,000 officers, but most need training before they can operate fully and independently, Cone said.
Beside the shortage of trainers, military commanders in Afghanistan have been complaining that they need an additional three brigades, or some 10,000 troops, to confront the rising Taliban insurrection in the country.
Overthrown by a US-led coalition in 2001, in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, the Taliban have stepped up their resistance in past months against some 70,000 NATO- and US-led troops.