As Western forces near the decade mark in their campaign in Afghanistan, the measure of their achievements has to be the Afghan National Army they've been training and equipping to take over so our troops can leave. So how's that going anyway? Yeah, well.... not quite so good as you might expect.
The Allies took just four years to raise land, air and sea forces to defeat Japan but in ten years we haven't managed to form an Afghan army capable of defending its central government against the Talibs.
Today's Sydney Morning Herald has a report about Afghan soldiers deserting in the belief that the Taliban will retake their country just as soon as the Americans leave. The deserters apparently want to get out to avoid being treated as traitors by the Taliban.
But that's just a newspaper account isn't it? Well, what about this item from British Forces News that reveals an astonishing 23% annual desertion rate among the ANA:
It doesn't look as though there are many Afghans willing to lay down their lives to defend the Karzai government. Unfortunately, we've never given them a government worth dying for.