Remember that Afghan National Army, the force we've spent the last eight years training, our one and only exit strategy for the AfPak War?
Well, even the US Defense Department is reporting that, for the year ending this past September, the annual desertion rate in the Afghan National Army is running at 25%.
Asia Times Online reports that the desertion rate has been increasing of late:
"...the rate of turnover in the ANA is accelerating rather than slowing down. That acceleration could increase further, as the number of troops whose three-year enlistment contracts end rises rapidly in the next couple of years. Meanwhile, the Defense Department (DoD) sought to obscure the problem of the high ANA turnover rate in its reports to the US Congress on Afghanistan in January and June 2009, which avoided the issues of attrition and desertion entirely."
...That desertion rate prompted analysts at the US Army Center for Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to conclude that the ANA would not be able to grow beyond 100,000, according to an article in the current issue of Military Review, published at the same army base.
The authors, Chris Mason and Thomas Johnson, both of whom have had extensive experience in Afghanistan, write that that the analysts at the Army Center concluded that by the time the ANA got to 100,000 troops, its annual losses from desertions and attrition would roughly equal its gains from recruitment."
So, to look at it another way, if the West is planning to get out of Afghanistan just as soon as we train an Afghan force of 200,000, we're there - well, forever. Yes, until the end of time itself.