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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Afghanistan | International
Afghan army still three years away
The United States general in charge of training Afghanistan's army has said it will be three more years before it is ready.
The US-trained Afghan army is supposed to take over the security responsibilities now carried out by foreign troops.
Army Major-General Robert Durbin, who heads the US effort to train and equip Afghan government security forces, said the national army numbers "a little bit over 30,000" and that it is growing at a rate of 1,000 a month.
The plan is to have 70,000 Afghan soldiers trained in three years.
It has been almost five years since the Taliban were defeated in Afghanistan and US forces have been helping build a new national army from scratch.
Durbin, the commander of Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, told a Pentagon briefing that Afghan security forces were making steady progress, but problems with absenteeism and developing capable leaders remain "a challenge".
He said 3,500 US troops out of an American force of 23,000 in Afghanistan are dedicated to training the Afghan army and police.