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Friday, July 2, 2010     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Turkish officers training Afghan military leaders

ANKARA — Turkey has expanded its military training in Afghanistan.


Officials said Turkey has increased military and security training to Afghanistan as part of the NATO stabilization campaign. They said hundreds of Turkish officers were serving as instructors to the Afghan Army and police.

"The Turkish military contingent is no longer going to train basic soldiers, but will focus totally on training leaders through a program," U.S. Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, commander of the NATO training mission in Afghanistan, said.

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In a briefing on June 19, Caldwell said the leadership training program has already begun. He said the Turkish effort has been taking place in Camp Gazi in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

Under U.S. pressure, Turkey has deployed nearly 2,000 military and security personnel in Afghanistan. The Turkish contingent has helped train the Army and police as well as operate a military hospital in Kabul.

Caldwell, who held three days of talks with Turkish commanders and officials in mid-June, said Ankara could be asked to expand its training program in Afghanistan. He said one option was that Turkey would instruct and mentor border police forces. Some of the courses have been given by U.S. instructors.

"We asked whether Turkey would like to take over the border police training facility in Shibirgan [in northern Afghanistan]," Caldwell said. "We have four training centers in Afghanistan for border police and we are asking [the Turks] if they would take over the one in Shibirgan."

Another NATO option would send 1,000 Afghan cadets for a year-long training program in Turkey. Officials said the government of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has agreed to the proposal.

The Turkish military training has focused on 12-week courses in an effort to transform up to 2,000 raw recruits into non-commissioned officers. On June 19, 400 Afghans began a training course directed by Turkey at Camp Gazi.

"Our biggest challenge today is we haven't finished growing the police force," Caldwell said. "What Turkish trainers do is that they bring quality."

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