May 4, 2010
The Way Out of Afghanistan
New York Times, New York Times
President Obama made a convincing case last December for sending an additional 30,000 American troops to Afghanistan. Most of those new forces, plus 58,000 already in country, would fight the Taliban. A smaller number would mold Afghan recruits into an indigenous Army and National Police force that could in time assume responsibility for protecting their country so the Americans and NATO allies could go home.
That handoff, so central to Mr. Obama’s strategy, has little chance of succeeding unless NATO gets more military trainers on the ground. Of the 5,200 trainers the United States and its NATO allies in January agreed were needed, about only 2,700 are there. All but 300 or so are Americans.
Illiteracy, corruption and other problems are not unexpected in a...