Training Afghan troops with guard firmly up
27 September, 2012
BAD PAKH: When American military advisers fly into Afghan Army outposts like the one nestled on the floor of this forested valley, they keep their body armor on and their weapons loaded.
Their guard was up even though they were there for a day of training Afghan soldiers without once leaving the confines of a fortified base — even when chatting with the Afghan officers over a lunch of goat meat and yogurt.
Afghan soldiers and police officers have gunned down 51 American and allied troops so far this year, and now no one is taking chances. The advisers' extreme caution lays bare the steep challenge ahead after the official end of the American troop "surge" on Friday and as the mission shifts toward the next chapter of the war: preparing the Afghans to fight on their own. "They come here and they look like they are going to fight us," said Sgt. Abdul Karim Haq, 25, an Afghan soldier at the outpost.