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Dempsey arrives on unannounced visit to Afghanistan

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Top US military officer General Martin Dempsey arrived in Afghanistan on an unannounced visit Saturday to assess the level of training the US will need to provide Afghan forces after NATO withdraws in 2014, an official said.

An estimated 100,000 foreign troops have been fighting the Taliban for the past 11 years and are due to leave Afghanistan by December 31, 2014 to be replaced by a smaller contingent to train and advise their local counterparts.

General Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will "assess the level of training that US/ISAF will provide to Afghan security forces", a military official said.

Afghan security forces, numbering around 330,000, are widely seen as ill-equipped, under-trained, and even corrupt. Lots of Afghans fear they will fail to contain the growing insurgency once the international troops leave.

The US army still has 68,000 troops on the ground in April 2013. Speculations on the size of its force post-2014 range from 6000 to 20,000 soldiers.

Last August, insurgents' rockets hit General Dempsey's plane as it was parked at the Bagram air field and wounded two maintenance crew, according to officials. Dempsey flew out of the country unharmed using another plane.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130406/dempsey-arrives-unannounced-visit-afghanistan