BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (AP) — Thirteen months before most foreign forces are due to withdraw from Afghanistan, American and NATO officials say the Afghan army and police still aren't ready to wage a sustained war against a determined insurgency.
On a positive note, U.S. military officials say the Taliban failed to capture any ground from Afghan security forces fighting for the first time without foreign firepower this fighting season. But the insurgents killed scores of soldiers, police and civilians in their campaign to weaken the government.
The mixed assessment underlines the unresolved question of whether some NATO forces should remain in Afghanistan.
The U.S. and Afghanistan have yet to sign a security agreement that would allow a foreign force to stay on after the Dec. 31, 2014 withdrawal deadline. The main sticking point is whether U.S. or Afghan courts would prosecute crimes committed by American forces.
If the security agreement is signed and includes immunity from prosecution by Afghan courts, the U.S. is expected to keep about 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014. NATO allies would provide about 5,000 troops.