Recruits to the Afghanistan army come from a world of desperate poverty. Many are malnourished and underweight and lack the upper body strength to manage the normal 50 lbs of equipment that American trainers expect them to use. Training the Afghan army is being done by US, Great Britain, and other allied countries as well as private for-profit contractors like MPRI and KBR.
The Western press claims that some 90,000 Afghan soldiers are trained and that the force will be up to 200,000 in the near future. While some 90,000 soldiers have been trained no one has reported of ever seeing such an army anywhere in Afghanistan.
The problem is that with 40% unemployment in the country, young men join up the paid training and disappear immediately after. Many of the men are former mujahidin and undoubtedly Taliban.
Groups of the Illinois National Guard struggle to train the makeshift Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) but pulling from a population of malnourished and underweight Afghan citizens, U.S. troops find recruits are unable to perform “Basic Warrior Training.” Even with the lack of physical prowess, military trainers find the ANA and ANP recruits turning out in a steady flow, in some cases finding the same recruit, under a different name, receiving the same training for a second and even third round.
Title: There’s Virtually Zero Percent Chance of There Ever Being a Real Afghan Army—So What’s the Pentagon Talking About?
Source: Alternet.com 9/21/2009
Author: Ann Jones
Student Researcher: Joe Hanley
Faculty Evaluator: Rob Proctor
Sonoma State University: Sociology of Media, Fall 2009
Instructor: Peter Phillips, #19