There are two-dozen Afghan special forces teams in eastern Afghanistan. The Americans want to train six more. Still, they are a small fraction of an Afghan army that is still spotty in its performance.
The American combat mission in Afghanistan will end in 2014. One concern for U.S. officials is the possibility that Afghan security forces will splinter along ethnic lines. The worry then is that those troops will start taking orders from warlords.
Renee Montagne recently returned from a reporting trip to Afghanistan. While there, she talked to young Afghan men, who are the sons of former warlords. The men who spent their youths fighting the Soviets on the battlefields of Afghanistan, sent their sons to universities abroad.
Trips to war zones have become a signature for Sen. John McCain. While some senators use poster board displays on the Senate floor to make their points, McCain goes them one better and by posing in dangerous places alongside wary men with semiautomatic rifles.
The 12-year U.S. military effort in Afghanistan has sought to drive out extremists and help Afghans rebuild their country. As the American forces prepare to withdraw, the focus is on practical security measures and those ambitious nation-building goals seem to be fading away.
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