Afghanistan, partners may approve 'Army-police forces' surge plan

Kabul, Jan 17 (ANI): Afghanistan and its international partners are reportedly all set to approve a plan for increasing army and police forces in that nation to about 378,000 personnel.

According to Western and Afghan officials familiar with the plan, this suggested number is a 42 percent increase over the current level.

The also said that the request is expected to be approved on Tuesday at a meeting of the Standing Security Committee of the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board comprising of Afghan officials, the United Nations and allied nations that are in charge of monitoring Afghanistan's development strategy.

The plan has been made to bring about a confidence in a training mission that has suffered in the recent years because of illiteracy, drug use, corruption and high desertion and resignation rates among the Afghan security forces. In 2009, more Afghan soldiers were abandoning the army than joining it.

According to NATO officials, the implementation of the plan could help attain an "irreversible transition" in 2014, when coalition forces are scheduled to hand over security powers to the Afghan government.

The paper quoted Colonel John Ferrari of the United States Army, who is deputy commander for programs of the NATO training mission, as saying that in January 2010, the security panel approved a plan to increase the army to 171,000 soldiers and the police to 134,000 officers by October 2011. A year later, the army has 149,500 soldiers and the police 117,000 officers.

Talking about the new plan, he said: "That's important, because last January when these numbers were approved, there were very few people who thought that could be achieved."

The success of last year's meeting of recruiting benchmarks has implanted an optimistic attitude about the current plan among NATO officials, who believe that the request would be approved. (ANI)

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