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U.S. trainers bemoan Afghan corruption

Dec. 9, 2009 at 1:29 PM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Afghan army units are corrupt and lack sufficient training and discipline to take over from their American counterparts anytime soon, some U.S. trainers say.

American troops have observed Afghan soldiers cowering in ditches whenever shooting breaks out and say they have seen them routinely stealing U.S.-supplied fuel, equipment and weapons, the military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported Wednesday.

It said some U.S. troops also suspect their Afghan counterparts of collaborating with Taliban insurgents. There also are concerns about rampant corruption as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has set a goal of doubling Afghan forces to 400,000 within four years.

"I do not feel I am a mentor here," Capt. Jason Douthwaite, a U.S. logistics officer, told Stars and Stripes. "I feel like I am an investigating officer. It's not, 'Let me teach you your job.' It's more like, 'How much did you steal from the American government today?'"

"They don't have the basics, so they lay down," added Capt. Michael Bell, tasked with making Afghan troops battle-ready. "I ran around for an hour trying to get them to shoot, getting fired on. I couldn't get them to shoot their weapons."

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