Recruiting Afghan Soldiers a Struggle

Although many agree building a local military is a key part of America's exit strategy, finding recruits for the Afghan National Army has proven to be a challenge.
This could be America's best exit strategy: building a strong Afghan National Army that would be the key to bringing security and stability to the country.

"I know to have a country, you need an army," an Afghan recruit said. "I'm here to make Afghanistan."

Making Afghanistan will require a fighting force that can protect its people, take over from coalition forces and rid the country of widespread corruption, reports CBS News correspondent Mandy Clark.

"It is critical for us to ever leave here that we have a sustainable Afghan National Army," said Capt. Bill Spurlock.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal's plan calls for an increase in Afghan troops from the current level of 90,000 to 134,000 next year. McChrystal's ultimate aim is to have a force of 240,000. It's a recommendation that President Obama is still considering.

Here basic training lasts 8 weeks and this facility alone can graduate over 40,000 soldiers in a year, but training isn't the main challenge, it's finding the soldiers in the first place.

Some would-be recruits are hedging their bets on who will be here in the long-term - the Afghan Security Forces or the Taliban. For others, their tribe or ethnic group comes first, country second.

"Yes, people think about tribe first but this is wrong," a recruit said. "If we build our country, then we can protect our tribes."

U.S. trainers have also been frustrated by the fact that some recruits join the army in the winter only to switch over to the Taliban when the fighting really starts in the summer, simply because the Taliban pay more.

And it's not just soldiers. In an insurgent video, Afghan police are seen handing over guns and other weapons to the Taliban. Photographs triggered an investigation into whether cowardice or corruption was to blame. Cases like this one feed a growing skepticism about the quality of Afghan Security Forces and their training.

The one thing that's not in doubt is that Afghan forces will have to be in the forefront of the battle to win over the Afghan public and restore faith in the government.