LTG James Dubik interviewed on National Public Radio


Transcript Excerpt

As Mary Louise mentioned, an important question mark in the policy debate is Afghan troops. There aren't enough of them now, nor are they trained well enough. And General McChrystal is worried that during the time it takes to train them, the insurgents could gain an insurmountable advantage and the war could be lost.

Here now to talk about the state of the Afghan army is retired Lieutenant General James Dubik. He oversaw training of Iraqi troops and he spent the summer in Afghanistan observing the training of troops there and he's also advising General McChrystal. Welcome to the program.

Lieutenant General JAMES DUBIK (Commander, Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq): Thank you, Madeleine. And thank you for having me.

BRAND: How many Afghan troops are necessary do you think to wage a successful counterinsurgency operation? And how many are now adequately trained?

Lt. Gen. DUBIK: Well, the army is about 90,000, the police a little bit less. The absolute number I think should really be a matter of study because the size of the Afghan National Army and the size of the police forces will be a function of the geography of the country, the level of the insurgency and the speed at which we can grow them.

BRAND: I've seen the number, though, of 300,000 - around 300,000, as one number that would be necessary.

Lt. Gen. DUBIK: Yeah. I think that would probably be, Madeleine, the low end. For example, in Iraq now, there are 600,000. And Afghanistan is a much larger country, much more broken up country and a much more rural country.

BRAND: And will they be able to be trained with the existing number of U.S. troops? Or do you think there will have to be more U.S. troops in country to provide the training and also the security?

Lt. Gen. DUBIK: Well, training the Afghan forces I think in this regard will be very similar to training forces anywhere in the world. Part of their training is done in what's called an institutional training base and that is at the training centers and the training schools. And then the second half of their training is done on the job. The United States Army does that, most NATO countries do the same thing.

And in Iraq, we partnered up, as part of the acceleration, we partnered Iraqi forces with coalition forces, so that the Iraqis could continue to learn as they planned, prepared, executed operations in the field. And this will be, I think, a similar kind of affair in Afghanistan if we do this correctly....

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