Are Afghans ready to take over their own security?
(CBS News) KABUL, Afghanistan - There are almost 90,000 Americans fighting in Afghanistan. Both candidates agree nearly all of them should be home by 2014. But are the Afghans ready to take over their own security?
After 11 years of war, there is some progress. The Afghan army is bigger -- 195,000 strong. But many soldiers desert and only 65 percent re-enlist. That means every year, new recruits make up more than a third of the army.
After 11 years, the Taliban are still not defeated
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Among the Afghan police, it's not much better. According to NATO, 15 percent quit because they were fed up with corruption, frustrated over the lack of supplies, or were scared away by the Taliban.
The insurgents are still powerful in many parts of the country. In rural Helmand Province, U.S. Marines told CBS News there aren't enough Afghan Army soldiers to take over.
In one case in the east, when the Afghan Army did take over, the Afghan commander and his men deserted. The U.S. Army had to come back.
But much of the training has been put in jeopardy by the recent rise of insider attacks; Afghan soldiers turning their guns on their American partners.
"It is a concern," said Maj. Matthew Kessler, a logistics adviser at Camp Leatherneck." It's frustrating on both sides. It makes the Marines and the Afghans angry."
NATO is painting a very rosy picture on paper. They say Afghan National Security forces are on track to take over security in their country. But they're also taking very heavy casualties. More than 500 Afghan soldiers and police are wounded every month.
And what's more, CBS News is hearing from a governor in the east that al Qaeda is already moving resources over the border from Pakistan, trying to take advantage of Americans leaving.
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