Afghan forces in lead, but not in control
February 8th, 2012
04:10 PM ET

Afghan forces in lead, but not in control

By Larry Shaughnessy

The Obama administration plan for Afghanistan is this: The United States and NATO are training a growing Afghan security force to take over security of their own country, allowing American and other international troops to leave in two years time.

But the second-highest-ranking officer in Afghanistan said Wednesday that so far, almost no Afghan units are capable of operating without American or NATO assistance.

When asked during a briefing at the Pentagon about how many Afghan Security units can operate independently, Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the deputy commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, replied "probably one percent ... to be honest with you ... It's a very low number."

That means while the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has turned control of about half of Afghanistan over to Afghans, almost everywhere that has happened the security forces working in those areas are still doing so with help from American and other international forces.

Even those units that operate independently still have American or NATO military advisers with them. The next-highest-rated category of Afghan units are those that are "effective with advisers." According to Scaparrotti, 42% of Afghan units fall into that category.

"That has been growing throughout. And that's really what we're trying to do. That's ... half your force ... effective with advisers. So they can operate," Scaparrotti said, adding, "They need our enablers. They need some advisory to help them. And that's where we're at today."

Scaparotti's briefing came just one day after CNN spoke exclusively with Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, who, after his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, said American troops believe Afghan Security Force partners "are almost completely incapable, if they even do their job. In some cases they are colluding with the Taliban."

Davis published his opinion in a military journal this week.

Scaparrotti said Davis's criticisms are one man's opinion of the war.

"I disagree with that," Scaparrotti said. "But I can tell you personally from experience and from feedback from others, these (Afghan) soldiers will fight, particularly at the company level. There's no question about that. And they're going to be good enough, as we build them, to secure their country and to counter the insurgency that they're dealing with now."

But Daniel's criticism aside, Scaparrotti conceded the next two years will be difficult for the United States and its allies.

"I'm a realist in how tough this is going to be," he said."This is going to be a tough fight. But I'm confident that it can be done."

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Filed under: Afghanistan • ISAF • Karzai • Military
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Brycew Banalesh

    Quality articles or reviews is the main to interest the users to go to see the web site, thatis what this website is providing.

    August 2, 2012 at 5:36 am | Reply
  2. Deen

    To Wahid – Afghans did not let outsiders come and settle in their country. They were there during the Russian war supporting and fighting alongside the Mujahideen. The Afghan warlords from all tribes never kicked them out because they saw them as guests, and in Afghan culture you treat your guests like family, and that is why the Taliban said show us proof that Bin Laden committed 911 and THEN we will hand him over, until then we will protect our guests with our lives. One thing you should understand Wahid is that all Taliban leaders are from Afghanistan, maybe they had support from other countries but ultimately they are all Afghans. If they had people helping them from the Peshawar area of Pakistan, well that is ultimatelly Afghanistan as well counting the Duran line. If they were not Afghans, then Hekmatyar would not have stepped aside and let them CONTROL Afghanistan. Maybe they were harsh in their control at first, but a country in war for 30 years, looting, stealing, DRUGS, that was the only way at first, but ultimately any Afghan I speak too agrees they brought PEACE and SECURITY. And remember this, our Vice President Joe Biden said, "The Taliban are not the enemy". And knowing Afghan culture they do not like to be involved with outside conflict, that is why the list of the 19 hijackers on 911 did not contain one single Afghan.

    February 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Reply
    • Mr X

      Very interesting!

      February 22, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  3. SGT

    Im in Afghanistan right now. How do we win this? and if we do what do we win? 14 men and women from my unit have died here so far, what did they die for? Someone, please enlighten me.

    February 9, 2012 at 10:56 am | Reply
    • ranger 830

      You go SGT.... Folks hes right when we go this experiment in democracy will be over!!! AND FOR WHAT! Im all for maintaining JSOC. capabilities and drones in the region however the attempted nation building has to end!!!!!

      February 9, 2012 at 11:40 am | Reply
    • ranger 830

      The ANA. Just like the ARVIN troops after the American withdrawl from VietNam will lay down their weapons and let the Taliban walk right back in!!!!!

      February 9, 2012 at 11:44 am | Reply
  4. SGT

    Im a soldier in Afghanistan right now seeing this crap first hand so all of you who think you know what your talking about by what you see on the news back in the states need to listen up. THERE IS NO HELPING THESE PEOPLE, no outside force has been able to take control of them or successfully conquer them in the thousands of years they have been around but we think we can stroll in and install democracy? its not working. everyone is corrupt and only cares about themselves. this place will fall apart as soon as we leave and as long as we are here we are only motivating the insurgency to continue, its a never ending war. we kill one taliban leader and another guy pops up in his place. besides, the taliban just wants us gone from their country just like we would want china out of ours. Al-Qaeda who we are looking for has been gone for years. As long as we occupy this country we will only be bringing more hatred upon us and retaliation will come then goes off another war and it goes on and on. stop buying into this crap that they hate us because we are free and prosperous. its plane ignorant.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:48 am | Reply
    • ranger 830

      Roger that SGT. I too have been there done that and got the teeshirt!!!!! SGT. is right on the money folks!!! The nation building must end plain and simple! If these folks wanted a functional nation they have had 10 years to get it done! But they do not,and have missed a golden op. to step into modern times!!! The tribalism, culture and corruption in this place runs so deep i dought things will ever change. RLTW. How Copy... Over...

      February 9, 2012 at 10:26 am | Reply
  5. Biggerdawg

    Not for nothing, but the captain of the Titanic was in charge, but far from in control.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:30 am | Reply
  6. SGT

    Im a soldier in Afghanistan right now (believe me or not i dont care) and i can tell you first hand this country will fall apart when we leave. The corruption is horrible and they cant do a thing on there own. Many are paid off from the taliban. Dont get me started on the Police, they are even worse. Corruption at its finest. Afghanistan has never had a since of nationality in thousands of years and we think we can walk in here and instal democracy. We will walk away in embarrassment with nothing to show for all the lives and money lost

    February 9, 2012 at 9:25 am | Reply
    • ranger 830

      You just cant fix years of isolation and ignorance in a decade!!!!

      February 9, 2012 at 10:49 am | Reply
  7. Geritol Ninja

    The Afghans are ready. They may not be as "good" as us, but they are better than many give them credit for.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:20 am | Reply
    • CapitlP

      Afghans are never "ready" to join the rest of us in modern civilization. They are stuck in biblical (Quranic?) times and like it that way. A lot of them are against refrigerated water/ice because it goes against the Quran!

      You simply can't fix ignorance

      February 9, 2012 at 10:42 am | Reply
    • ranger 830

      They are great gorillas!!!! However not so great soliders,most are in it for the money not the cause. The Afghans can fight I think the soviets will attest to that.But will only fight for somthing they beleave in.They dont beleave in a central government and democracy!!!!! These guys will decorate their AKs with ribbons and bows and bells.They love to take a huge hit off the hash pipe before going on patrol. Like I said they are not in it to win it only for the paycheck!!!! Enough of the sucking!!!!!!!

      February 9, 2012 at 10:43 am | Reply
      • ranger 830

        Not saying anythings wrong with the hash!!!! So dont all you weed heads get upset! Im just sayin not while on patrol man can you dig it man 🙂 !!!!!!

        February 9, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • SGT

      Are you serious? I work with the ANA (afghan national army) everyday. we live together on this small outpost. They dont care whats going on in there country. when we leave, this place will fall apart. they care about their tribe, family, and maybe the village they live in. besides that, forget it. they are easily paid off and lack and since of self stability.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:53 am | Reply
    • Mr X

      True say

      February 22, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  8. MITT ROMNEY

    Is Afghanistan ready to take control of their own country? First of all, if they're not its because GWB and the GOP deliberately and recklessly abandoned and prolonged this war to invade Iraq. With that being said, the Afghan war would have been long over and that country well on its way to stability at least five years ago had GWB and the GOP not made their blonder and misjudgement. And this is precisely why all Republicans should be kept out of Washington and away from making critical decisions impacting the lives of the American people. Once upon a time the rich resorted to yatching and golfing and country club festivities for entertainment. But unfortunately their new form of entertainment seems to be flexing their muscles and starting wars they can't finish.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:18 am | Reply
    • mipolitic

      what about the facts of the matter instead of white house spin. the majority of americans want troops out as soon as possible , and the darts thrown a small pocket of guys in pakistan is in no way conducting a wise foreign policy by obama. iran is a big boy threat along with the 19 americans held as detainees in egypt. we need some wisdom not games.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:07 am | Reply
  9. krm1007

    India poses a clear and present danger to the regional security of the world. ...to USA...NATO...Pakistan and Afghanistan people and armed forces. Hindu cult extremism is on the rise and fanning all terrorism worldwide. Indians are the bankers to and financing terrorism and supporting Talibans and Al Qaeda and harboring them in India. These terrorists are being entertained in the Indian parliament building in New Delhi where they are residing and then smuggled over to Pakistan in Indian Army helicopters. Shame on these Indians. Like the NAZI's they need to be stopped forcefully and immediately

    February 9, 2012 at 7:49 am | Reply
    • ron paul

      I would bet $10,000 that you are Pakistani... and an idiot

      February 9, 2012 at 9:08 am | Reply
      • Biggerdawg

        Easiest $10,000 you will ever make!

        February 9, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Mr X

      You so full of it.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
  10. Joe Gets

    Most Afghans support the Taliban but join the army for financial reasons (and perhaps take a few Yankees down). They have no real and valid reason to be fighting the Taliban.

    February 9, 2012 at 7:45 am | Reply
  11. Joseph

    Afghanistan has been in war for over 30 years, They should be ready even though you are replacing the durable AK-47 for the crappy M16.

    February 9, 2012 at 7:04 am | Reply
    • Biggerdawg

      Crappy? Hardly.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:32 am | Reply
  12. mipolitic

    the foreign policy of the usa has been foreing to wisdom and common sence for years now. obama taking out small pocket of a few guys is not the leadership the world needs. iran is a huge threat with its nuke sites, and the 19 detained americans in egypt is all because they see obama as weak.

    February 9, 2012 at 6:16 am | Reply
  13. SNAPPA

    As an American the only thing I can say it: WHO CARES???

    February 9, 2012 at 6:03 am | Reply
  14. helenecha

    The Obama administration plan for Afghanistan is like this: They have decided to throw out the seed of apple and they're going to dream to have bigger apple.

    February 9, 2012 at 2:45 am | Reply
    • Bob Ramos

      It is very hard to get your apple analogy. But remember it was Bush who first had the bad guys on the ropes and then let them off when he started the phony Iraq war. In any case, ready or not, whatever will happen in 2012, or 2013 or whenever, the country has to assume responsibility for itself because no way are we going to stay past 2014.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:19 am | Reply
    • ranger 830

      WTF.... OVER....

      February 9, 2012 at 10:47 am | Reply
  15. America

    Five minutes after the most recent occupying army withdraws, the country will revert to doing things exactly as they have for a thousand years, including treating women like cattle. They aren't worth a single American life. Withdraw and let them rot. If they get taken over by Taliban, bomb them back to the stone age, which for them is not far at all.

    February 9, 2012 at 1:09 am | Reply
    • Joe Gets

      People like you are the reason for the 911s.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:41 am | Reply
    • Biggerdawg

      Joegets; You make no sense. When we left them alone, what happened? Afghanistan opened its doors to radical Islam, allowed training camps to be built and used for terror world wide leading top ...9/11. So by being there, not being there or bombing them, it boils down to "them" hating "us". So, bombs away.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:36 am | Reply
  16. Jason

    There is no paper trail for many of these Afghani citizens so their army is up to its eyeballs in Taliban infiltrators. Even though its our only option, training these people how to fight almost seems like lunacy.

    February 9, 2012 at 1:02 am | Reply
    • Mr X

      Yankee go home. Afghans are no strangers to war they don`t need your training. With all you might your still there and can`t eliminate a few thousands Afghans.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  17. Greg

    To quote Amy Winehouse, "I say no, no, no!"

    February 9, 2012 at 12:03 am | Reply
    • midas

      We might help them then blow them up again like Iraq.

      February 9, 2012 at 12:38 am | Reply
  18. taylor

    wow ok afagnastan but this was a well writte areticle using it for my world news current event

    February 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Reply
  19. Wahid

    History lesson for all. Afghanistan has been invaded by almost all superpowers in history, but never been controlled. it is true that Afghans are uneducated, undeveloped and far away from western modern values but they are not uncivilized and they know their freedom and rights of self determination. All I'm saying is Afghans are best left alone. Arabs, Pakistanis, Taliban, Americans, Russian, Iranian, French and the rest of Nato, The UN, NGOs private security forces, etc must realize that and let Afghans deal with Afghan problems. Only Afghans can fight Afghans, and only Afghans will make peace with Afghans and if it means, Afghans killing each other, so be it.

    February 8, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Reply
    • sfg

      I guess you never heard of the Mongols.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Reply
      • Wahid

        Sure I have, they invaded, but not controlled Afghanistan as did Alexander, the Arabs, the British tried to fight three losing wars, the Soviets, the Pakistanis and Wahabis known as Taliban and now the Americans under the banner of NATO and ISAF. Isn't it questionable that the most powerful well equipped army of the world, with a strong purpose and determination cannot control a country smaller than Taxes, cannot govern a bunch of poor people as any society can be, uneducated and disorganized? Now imagine, if Afghans were as equipped and had a strong cause as Americans do. It is not fair to judge the Afghan Arm forces as you would judge the Americans.

        February 8, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
      • Jason

        Afghans let foreign terrorists and criminals shack up in "their land" and launch attacks against other nations. Then they turned around and deceived the US as the location of these terrorists. They brought this war on themselves.

        February 9, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • Bob Ramos

      In a vew short piece, you stated the truth very eloquently. Congrats.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:20 am | Reply
    • Biggerdawg

      Jason said it best. Period.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:38 am | Reply
    • CapitlP

      Wahid: Are you talking about the "freedom" of the Afghan women? WHo is fighting for them (and no........I am not saying we stay the course in Afghanistan but it sux for these women)?

      February 9, 2012 at 10:48 am | Reply
    • Deen

      Afghans did not let outsiders come and settle in their country. They were there during the Russian war supporting and fighting alongside the Mujahideen. The Afghan warlords from all tribes never kicked them out because they saw them as guests, and in Afghan culture you treat your guests like family, and that is why the Taliban said show us proof that Bin Laden committed 911 and THEN we will hand him over, until then we will protect our guests with our lives. One thing you should understand Wahid is that all Taliban leaders are from Afghanistan, maybe they had support from other countries but ultimately they are all Afghans. If they had people helping them from the Peshawar area of Pakistan, well that is ultimatelly Afghanistan as well counting the Duran line. If they were not Afghans, then Hekmatyar would not have stepped aside and let them CONTROL Afghanistan. Maybe they were harsh in their control at first, but a country in war for 30 years, looting, stealing, DRUGS, that was the only way, but ultimately any Afghan I speak too agrees they brought PEACE and SECURITY. And remember this, our Vice President Joe Biden said, "The Taliban are not the enemy". And knowing Afghan culture they do not like to be involved with outside conflict, that is why the list of the 19 hijackers on 911 did not contain one single Afghan.

      February 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  20. Fred

    Are you kidding? Never
    will be.

    February 8, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Reply
  21. mipolitic

    ssSSuuurrreee they are HONESTLY, REALLY , ABSOLUTELY , not ready to be trusted nor will they ever be , but that should not stop us of shaking this virus from us. lets get the hell out now.

    February 8, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Reply
  22. Jt_flyer

    A few months after the US leaves Afghanistan there will be no indication we were ever there. We forgot the lessons of Vietnam. Next up: Iran, Syria? As long as we have have a war production economy the madness will never stop.

    February 8, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Reply
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    February 8, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Reply
  24. Honestly

    Honestly, while Obama may not be great, I would feel in danger and worried for myself being in the same room as any of the other candidates. I really would be scared. I'll become a hermit as long as I have to, I don't want someone who I feel would hurt me to be president.

    February 8, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Reply
    • Bob Ramos

      You are so right. Romney and Gingrich want to start another war on the cuff; Santorium is very immature. Paul, who will never be nominated, makes the most sense of all. Since one of these three losers will be the nominee, the general election is Obama's to lose. The major problem is that we are in for at least 9 more months of Obama bashing by these guys who will offer no specific solutions to our problems.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:23 am | Reply
  25. Tewrobert

    Do Donkeys fly?

    February 8, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Reply
    • weirdguy

      of course they do, ignorant!

      February 8, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Reply
  26. yas86

    It takes us American infantry 4-12 months to get ready for war; so what's taking them afghan so long??

    February 8, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Reply
    • michaeldw

      They can't trust anyone. They won't cooperate. They're uneducated.

      February 8, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Reply
      • weirdguy

        you don`t know anything so shut up

        February 8, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Dana

      Afghan soldiers really know where the power lies, and that's not with the government. When we leave so will the government.

      February 8, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  27. Historyrpts

    if you visited Afghanistan today you would see that there is a remote chance the government will prevail against all of the opposition groups that will challenge them after the USA leaves. Even with the USA troops there are great swathes of Afghanistan that are not government controlled. The people see the government as a puppet of the USA. Many Afghani's are non too fond of the USA. Once the USA does leave Afghanistan maybe they can start bringing home the troops stationed in the 145 territories and countires all over the world.

    February 8, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  28. markjuliansmith

    Whether they are or not in military terms is irrelevant there are enough guns and enough men to use them – the most pertinent question is are they in a position(willing) to protect the meager societal rule changes, in essence imposed by the West to stop Afghanistan being again used as a Terrorist base against Other. Changes to protect Other and improved womens place in afghan society?

    I believe they are not. Why? The foundation text against Other and determines women as subject has not changed.

    Foundation text=ethics=ideas=motivation=action for and against Other – change the foundation text or the Taliban and Al Qaeda are back and women again will be not seen and not heard.

    February 8, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Reply
  29. rightospeak

    Who cares ,stop occupying them ! Bring the troops home now.Ron Paul 2012 ! and you should settle for no less. He is the only sane one out of the bunch.

    February 8, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Reply
    • Yeah, Ron Paul's Great!

      "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty; it also failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society. Federal bureaucrats and judges cannot read minds to see if actions are motivated by racism. Therefore, the only way the federal government could ensure an employer was not violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to ensure that the racial composition of a business's workforce matched the racial composition of a bureaucrat or judge's defined body of potential employees. Thus, bureaucrats began forcing employers to hire by racial quota. Racial quotas have not contributed to racial harmony or advanced the goal of a color-blind society. Instead, these quotas encouraged racial balkanization, and fostered racial strife."

      –Ron Paul

      February 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Reply
  30. newsy97

    One burning question: if no one has ever conquered Afghanistan, why can't their soldiers fight? Kind of makes you wonder doesn't it?

    February 8, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Reply
    • Clinton

      Simply answer to that one Newsy97 – Afghanistan is not worth taking... they know how to be a menace to another force, can't really put together a true army... but they know how to be rebellious.. that's about it... they just hold out longer than anybody cares to stay in their territory.... because it's useless territory...

      February 8, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Reply
      • Artaxerxes

        Afghanistan is strategically important. It is the gateway into the Caucasus, Southern Russia, and Eastern Asia. Not useless territory at all. As for why their soldiers "can't" fight, simple they don't want to.

        February 8, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
      • CapitlP

        Art: It no longer is considered the gateway since we now have planes!

        February 9, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Wahid

      Afghans can fight. Not too long ago, the red army left Afghanistan with bloody nose and accepted defeat for the first time, puppets of whom defeated the American army in Vietnam. Why is that Afghan army cannot fight now? Because fighting the Soviets was a strong enough cause. Afghans are not sure if this time around (AKA war on terror) has any meaning to them.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Reply

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