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General: Iraq has 'training gap'

Dec. 7, 2011 at 2:31 PM

BAGHDAD, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- The lack of an agreement on training of Iraqi troops after the U.S. pullout means a "training gap" for the Iraqi military, a U.S. commander said Wednesday.

Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, who oversees the training of Iraqi forces, said they have the capacity to deal with internal threats like al-Qaida, USA Today reported. But he said securing the country's international borders and airspace is another matter.

The United States and the Iraqi government were unable to reach an agreement on the terms of a training program. The U.S. troops remaining in the country, fewer than 10,000, are scheduled to leave by the end of the month.

"That leaves a significant training gap in the Iraqi security forces," Caslen said. "Iraqi security forces are going to have to address how to meet that training gap in the future."

Even Iraq's counterinsurgency actions still depend on the U.S. military for air support and for some technical equipment, he said. Securing the borders requires more high-tech know-how.

"The best situation was to have the residual force that could train them like we do in our Army," Caslen said.

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