United States and Nato training Afghan soldiers

The sunday Times
Christina Lamb Camp Morehead, Afghanistan
IT IS the world’s most expensive boot camp. Inside a ring of mountains west of Kabul, hundreds of Afghans, from goatherds to former maths teachers, are being trained by some of the world’s finest soldiers.

Later this month General Stanley McChrystal, commander of American and Nato forces, presents his review of strategy in Afghanistan, in which he will call for the doubling of the Afghan army to 240,000. Key to this will be the commando programme.

“This is our ticket out of here,” said a special forces captain involved in their training.

The United States is pouring $7.5 billion (£4.5 billion) a year into building an Afghan army and police force. It is an uphill task. Most recruits cannot read or write. Afghan soldiers do not have a great image, even among their own countrymen.

Entering Camp Morehead, my Afghan driver started heading down a track clearly marked, “No entry”. As the guards raised their guns I shouted at him to stop. “Don’t worry: they’re Afghan soldiers – they’re not serious,” he laughed. “Only worry about American soldiers.”


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