Sunday, November 29, 2009

A talent war in Afghanistan

This is just to note, without comment, two odd moments in the Washington Post's preview of Obama's plans for Afghanistan to be unveiled on Tuesday. The first is a window into the mind of Marine General James T. Conway as the Marines prepare to lead a renewed assault on the Taliban in Helmand after a prior effort to dislodge the Taliban in the process was put on pause in midstream for lack of troops.
"Where we have gone, goodness follows," Conway said. "But the fact is that we are not as expansive as we would like to be, and those probable additional number of Marines are going to help us to get there."
 Next, an account of what sounds like a talent war - or corporate raid:
The administration's new plans for the Afghan army and police, which will probably be a heavy focus of Tuesday's speech, call for increasing the size of the army to about 134,000 troops by next October, four years earlier than the initial goal of 2014. To meet that target, the Afghan Ministry of Defense must bring in about 5,000 new recruits a month and dramatically cut attrition in existing battalions. In November, the defense ministry missed its monthly recruiting goal by more than 2,000 troops.

Afghan soldiers and police were recently given a 40 percent pay increase, but it is too early to tell whether the extra money will fix the recruiting problem, U.S. officials said.

"The extra pay literally brought us to parity with what the Taliban are offering," a senior military official in Kabul said.

Looks like it's the American taxpayer vs. Gulf plutocrats.

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