Leadership: Afghanistan Cannot Afford What It Needs


May 15,2008: The Afghan Army has reached a strength of 76,665 troops. The army will grow to 86,000 in the next two years. The Afghan government believes it needs 200,000 troops to deal internal and external threats. The current force is well trained, largely to Western standards. The troops are also replacing their Russian weapons with Western ones. All this is expensive, and Afghanistan cannot pay for a 200,000 man army by itself. While Western aid could help raise a force that large in the next five years, without continued Western subsidies, Afghanistan would have to disband most of that force. The government does not relish the idea of cutting loose over 100,000 well trained soldiers. It would just improve the quality of the bandits and militias maintained by tribes and warlords.


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