NATO admits it's failing to win over recruits from Taliban

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Kabul, Jan. 15 (ANI): A senior NATO commander has admitted that the coalition forces are failing to win over recruits from the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Sky News quoted Lieutenant General Bill Caldwell, of the US Army, as saying that only three percent of those joining the Afghan security forces were from the Pashtun-speaking southern provinces, which remain the heartland of the insurgency.

General Caldwell said he confronted "a culture of poverty" with training programmes under-resourced.

"Any recruit who started on day one and was still there on the final day qualified from the eight-week course. We have to have proper standards for graduation," he said.

The disproportionate under-representation of southern Pashtuns would be addressed by a "very aggressive" recruiting effort over the next 18 months, he said.

Training up pro-government police and army is seen as the basis to eventual withdrawal of foreign troops.

By October 2010, manning targets for the army are 134,000 (current strength is 96,000) and for the police 109,000 (89,000).

The latest recruitment levels were on target, boosted by a pay rise which gives qualified soldiers and police a monthly salary of £101, rising to £150 with danger money.

Drop-out rates, which were running as high as 45 percent, have also been brought down to below 10 percent.

Widespread illiteracy means most training has to be "show and tell".

The Pentagon has sent in another 840 soldiers to train Afghan instructors and try to speed up the process. (ANI)

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