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Jun 28th, 2010

Report: U.S. Overestimated Ability of Afghans

Findings contradict upbeat assessments by senior military commanders

Spc. Christian Hoffman of Sanford, Florida, a medic with the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan, listens for the heartbeat of a gravely wounded man after a civilian truck hit a buried mine on June 21, 2010 in Khushi Khona, near the Turkmenistan border. Eight local Afghan men were aboard the truck, returning from a routine trip to buy sheep. (Photo credit: Chris Hondros / Getty Images)

By Anne Flaherty

WASHINGTON — The U.S. has often overestimated the ability of Afghan military and police units to fight on their own, according to an independent report released Monday that calls into question the strategy to win the war and bring troops home.

The investigation is the first objective look at the rating system the military has used for the past five years to judge the effectiveness of Afghan troops. Its findings seem to contradict upbeat assessments recently provided by senior military commanders overseeing the war.

The capability of Afghan forces is considered the single biggest indicator of whether the war is going well and is seen as the linchpin in the U.S. strategy since the war began more than eight years ago.

Lawmakers are likely to use the latest findings to question President Barack Obama’s handling of the war. Democrats say they are frustrated that Obama is sending more U.S. troops into combat without assurances that Afghan forces are close behind. …

The U.S. has spent $27 billion on the effort — about half of the money its poured into rebuilding Afghanistan. But the program has been hobbled by a lack of trainers, available Afghans and spikes in violence.

“The bottom line to this is that the system … is flawed, it’s unreliable and it’s inconsistent,” said Arnold Fields, who led the study as the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.

Two weeks before he was fired by Obama, Gen. Stanley McChrystal told reporters that “their growth is on track” and “we’re ahead of the plan.” But the report found that the system used to judge that success was deeply flawed. …


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — June 28, 2009

Iraq-Afghanistan Weekly Update

One-year retrospective: One year ago today I provided my weekly summary of security incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

3 Responses to “Afghanistan: Not Up to Snuff”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Record Afghan War Dead Says:

    […] Afghanistan: Not Up to Snuff (June 28, 2010) […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » NATO Returns Fire in Kabul Siege Says:

    […] Afghanistan: Security Forces Not Up to Snuff […]

  3. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Afghan War ‘Not Worth Fighting’ Says:

    […] Afghanistan: Not Up to Snuff (June 28, 2010) […]

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