Afghan army lacks specialist capabilities

Only a fraction of troops able to operate independently as NATO withdrawal looms.

Of the 290 Afghan army battalions, the US military says only 18 are able to operate independently today.

Coalition advisers, who have increasingly taken a supporting role to the Central Asian nation’s security forces, say local forces still lack specialist capabilities like surveillance, aviation, and clearing roads of bombs.

For many Afghans, as the December 2014 deadline for an international troop withdrawal nears, there is an increasing fear of a breakdown in security when local forces are left to their own devices.

Bernard Smith reports from Nad Ali in the southern province of Helmand, where he joined one Afghan army unit to see how they operate on their own amid the increasing push to take a leading role in their nation’s security.

Source: Al Jazeera