NYTimes: Afghan Army- many, deserters, many Taliban symps
KABUL, Afghanistan — The first thing Col. Akbar Stanikzai does when he interviews recruits for the Afghan National Army is take their cellphones.
Col. Akbar Stanikzai, right, a senior official at the Afghan Army’s National Recruiting Center in Kabul, said: “Recruitment, it’s like a machine: If you stopped, it would collapse.”
He checks to see if the ringtones are Taliban campaign tunes, if the screen savers show the white Taliban flag on a black background, or if the phone memory includes any insurgent beheading videos.
Often enough they flunk that first test, but that hardly means they will not qualify to join their country’s manpower-hungry military. Now at its biggest size yet, 195,000 soldiers, the Afghan Army is so plagued with desertions and low re-enlistment rates that it has to replace a third of its entire force every year, officials say.
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