WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. general in charge of training in Afghanistan says the number of American military trainers there will increase by 800 by next March
That's a nearly 45 percent jump.
Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, commander of NATO's training mission in Afghanistan, told Pentagon reporters Monday that even as the number of combat troops begins to drop, more trainers are needed.
He says the additional trainers will help the Afghans develop specialized skills in maintenance, logistics and medical systems -- things they now need the U.S. to do for them.
There are 1,800 international trainers there now.
Caldwell says just two Afghan battalions can operate independently now, but still rely on coalition forces for medical evacuation, logistics and intelligence support. He says another 124 Afghan battalions can operate with minimal support.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)