Afghanistan — Gates: Recruiting May Ease Afghan Forces’ Attrition

LONDON, June 9, 2010 — With recruit­ing on pace to exceed goals, the increased num­bers may help to ease attri­tion prob­lems that have plagued the Afghan army and police, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates said here today.

Gates met with U.S. and British reporters as he wrapped up a two-day vis­it dur­ing which he met with lead­ers of the new British government. 

Recruit­ing for Afghanistan’s army and police is exceed­ing goals, Gates said, and recent pay increas­es have helped with police reten­tion. But although reten­tion for the Afghan army has been good, attri­tion has been an issue for the both the police and the army, he acknowledged. 

“While the num­bers are grow­ing,” the sec­re­tary explained, “too often, units are sent into bat­tle and there’s no plan for them to rotate back home for a peri­od of rest and recov­ery. So they’re just in the fight indefinitely. 

“So in a way,” he con­tin­ued, “the only way to get any R&R, the only way to get out of com­bat, is to desert. And so I think the recruit­ing rates and the attri­tion rates are very much tied to get­ting enough num­bers in the forces that they can have a reg­u­lar rota­tion­al process that allows them to get home and see their families.” 

But while recruit­ing may increase num­bers for Afghanistan’s army and police, Gates said, the NATO train­ing mis­sion in Afghanistan needs 450 more train­ers to get the new recruits ready for duty. The sec­re­tary said he’d like to see NATO allies – espe­cial­ly those that are not con­tribut­ing com­bat forces to the effort in Afghanistan – to step up to relieve the train­er shortfall. 

“I’ve tried to pro­vide a bridg­ing capa­bil­i­ty over about a six- or sev­en-month peri­od by send­ing a cou­ple of Marine detach­ments and an Army unit to pro­vide train­ing,” he said, “but I see that as a tem­po­rary bridge until the Euro­pean train­ers and oth­er train­ers can get there.” 

The sec­re­tary pre­dict­ed a “tough sum­mer” in Afghanistan as the troop surge con­tin­ues and coali­tion forces go into more areas where the Tal­iban have been in con­trol or have been intim­i­dat­ing local peo­ple and gov­ern­ment offi­cials. But he added that he expects suf­fi­cient progress will be evi­dent by year’s end to show that the strat­e­gy in Afghanistan is on the right track. 

Many of the 30,000 addi­tion­al U.S. troops Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma autho­rized for the troop surge have only recent­ly arrived in Afghanistan, Gates not­ed, and about 12,000 more have yet to deploy. 

The sec­re­tary also expressed his plea­sure that Toshi­mi Kitaza­wa has remained in place as Japan’s defense min­is­ter in Prime Min­is­ter Nao­to Kan’s new government. 

“I think sta­bil­i­ty and con­ti­nu­ity is of val­ue,” Gates said. “I’ve also had the oppor­tu­ni­ty now to meet with him a num­ber of times, and I feel like we have a good rela­tion­ship.” Gates also applaud­ed Kan’s announce­ment that he will stand by an Amer­i­can-Japan­ese gov­ern­ment agree­ment made in 2006 to relo­cate a U.S. Marine Corps air base on Oki­nawa. Kan’s pre­de­ces­sor had want­ed to move the U.S. base off Oki­nawa entirely. 

“I think now we have an oblig­a­tion to work with our Japan­ese part­ners to see how we can togeth­er mit­i­gate the impact in Oki­nawa of our mil­i­tary pres­ence, whether it’s hav­ing more train­ing out­side of Oki­nawa [or] whether it’s noise abate­ment pro­ce­dures,” he said. “I think there are some things that we need to look at in terms of how we can be help­ful, and I think that’s what we’ll be doing going forward.” 

After the meet­ing with reporters, Gates left Lon­don for Brus­sels, Bel­gium, where he will attend two days of NATO meetings. 

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefence.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →