NATO Commander Says Recruitment of Afghans Gaining

From the AP: Afghanistan’s military and security forces are on track to meet their goal of recruiting 300,000 troops by the end of 2011, though retaining those troops has been a challenge, NATO’s top military officer said Thursday.

With a high desertion rate, expanding the Afghan ranks has been difficult, but a decision last year to raise salaries helped to draw more recruits, said Adm. James Stavridis, supreme allied commander for Europe and the commander of the U.S. European Command.
"We have just increased the pay … and that has resulted in a significant increase," Stavridis said…
"I think performance of the Afghan security forces is improving rapidly," Stavridis said, noting there was a "roughly one-to-one ration" of Aghhan troops to American soldiers in Marjah.
They are "fighting hard," he said, ticking off a flurry recent activity including a helicopter commando raid led by Afghan pilots and troops last month and the rounding up of suspects after major suicide bomb assault in Kabul. (photo: AP)

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