Thursday, March 01, 2007

"In Afghanistan, clothes and beards do maketh the man"

The following is a summary of an article entitled In Afghanistan, clothes and beards do maketh the man of the On Target Chronicle Herald written by Scott Taylor, details mistakes made by the U.S. in training the Afghan National Army.

"the U. S. had ordered all facial hair removed from the Afghan soldiers. Presumably, this was to make the troops appear more westernized... "
"For four years, the U. S.- led coalition and NATO's International Security Assistance Force have been hurriedly trying to establish the Afghan National Army as a self- sufficient military."
"The standard of training can best be described as NATO- lite in that recruits receive just 17 weeks of instruction before being deployed on active operations."
"By contrast, a Canadian combat soldier undergoes 12 weeks of basic training, a further 16 weeks of battle school and at least a six-month predeployment preparatory work- up period with his or her unit before an actual operational tour."
"The [Kabul Military Training Centre] has a no- fail policy with no minimum standards. That ensures that only cadets who pose a danger to themselves or to coalition forces will be weeded out during training."
"... the [Afghan National Army] troops I saw seemed singularly dispirited."
"In a country where the men pride themselves on their turbans and beards, we issue them berets and razors."
"Instead of trying to westernize these recruits, why don't we celebrate their Afghan nationalism and encourage their historical fighting spirit?"

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