Report: Iraqi military far from ready

April 25, 2008 at 2:22 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 25 (UPI) -- Statistics on the strength of Iraqi security forces are unreliable and the country is unprepared to handle its own security, a U.S. inspector general said.

Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraqi reconstruction for the Defense Department, said that Iraqi figures don't show how many of the soldiers and police officers on the payroll are actually available, USA Today reported.

"The details included in the reports and other available information suggests a continuing need for caution in relying on the accuracy and usefulness of the numbers," he said in a report to Congress.

Iraq claims to have 530,000 people in its security forces, including 160,000 in the army. But Bowen found that many of them have been wounded or killed or failed to report for duty, USA Today said.

U.S. Army Col. Michael Fuller, chief of staff of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq, said in the report that he expects the Iraqi army to be able to function on its own in September 2009. The Bush administration originally said the Iraqi military would be self-sustaining in 2006.

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