The Afghan police and army are at the forefront of the strategy announced by President Barack Obama last week, which called for a “surge” of 30,000 new US troops in the country.
Nearly a brigade of the newcomers — 3,000-4,000 troops — would be trainers, and much of the rest would work with or mentor Afghan security forces. Obama proclaimed that the surge would mean that “more Afghans can get into the fight”.
Within 18 months, the Afghan army is scheduled to grow from 97,000 to 134,000, and the police force to double. From July 2011, Afghan forces will take gradual control of their own territory and the Americans will begin withdrawing.
At least that is the theory.