London, Sept. 3: Top NATO commander General Joseph Dunford has said that Afghanistan’s police and army may need western support for at least five more years before they can be capable of fighting independently.
In an interview given to The Guardian, General Dunford said North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Afghan commanders were concerned about increasing casualty rates, which has regularly been more than 100 dead in a week.
Western forces have officially stopped fighting in Afghanistan since Jun and are now providing training and support to the army and police, he said.
Although Afghanistan has rapidly expanded its security forces, it did not need help in basic battle skills as they still struggled to support themselves in areas, like logistics, planning, intelligence-gathering and back-up from planes and helicopters in difficult battles, he added.
General Dunford, meanwhile, said that it was too early to judge whether NATO had taken the right decision to end combat operations in Afghanistan.
President Barack Obama had earlier assured that all NATO combat troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but no definite date has been decided for the assistance to end.
A follow-up NATO training mission, Resolute Support, has been promised to Afghan troops, but with a lower profile and far fewer soldiers than present. (ANI)