Petraeus: ‘No Guarantee’ the U.S. Will Get to 400K Afghan Soldiers and Cops « The Washington Independent
Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), asks: How large should the Afghan security services be?
“We have established goals by year right now for the Afghan national army and the Afghan national police,” Gen. David Petraeus replied. The army should get to 134,000 soldiers and the police to 109,000 cops by October 2010, he said. As for ultimate end strength, Petraeus demurred. “Right now, what we want to do is meet our annual goals,” he said, and “first confirm that we can in fact meet those goals” especially and retention. “The pay has just been increased, and there has been a benefits package.” A “shift in momentum,” Petraeus added, will be the “biggest recruiting tool of all” as the Taliban starts to lose.
But Petraeus doesn’t address either McChrystal’s stated new goal of 300,000 soldiers and police by July 2011; or the revelation that the Taliban pays its foot soldiers more than allies of the United States do.
Petraeus finally explained that while the 400,000-soldiers-and-cops goal remains an ideal figure, there’s “no guarantee that’s where were going.” He estimates a 400,000-strong Afghan force would cost the United States $10 billion per year.