- Jul 31, 2005
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About 5,500 additional Iraqi police have been trained in the last three months, but infiltration of the police by insurgents remains a significant problem, the
Pentagon said on Thursday in a report aimed at measuring progress in
While the "infiltration harms the ability of the police to combat the insurgency, it does not render the forces incapable," the report said, adding that the "exact extent of insurgent infiltration is unknown at this time."
It said insurgents are having more success infiltrating the Iraqi police forces than the military "because police are often recruited by local police chiefs with little coalition oversight."
The unclassified version of the Pentagon's report appeared to shed little new light on conditions in Iraq as it heads toward a referendum this weekend on a new constitution.
Democrats criticized the latest installment as vague, and another example of
President George W. Bush's failure to show how the United States can extricate itself from Iraq.
"Even today, the administration submitted a report to Congress on troop training that again failed to set out a plan," said Sen. Edward Kennedy (news, bio, voting record), a Massachusetts Democrat.
"They won't tell American people what they want to know: when the Iraqi security forces will be fully capable of fighting on their own. That's the key to achieving victory."
The report said a total of 67,500 police have been trained and equipped so far, up 5,500 since the last report in July, but behind the goal of having 75,000 police by Saturday's constitutional referendum.
Police absenteeism is a "significant problem in areas where there is considerable strife, such as Fallujah, Ramadi and Samarra" largely because of intimidation by insurgents, itsaid.
With Congress pressing for more progress in training Iraqi military forces to eventually replace U.S. troops, the report said 10,000 more soldiers, sailors and airmen had been trained since the last report in July, bringing the total to 87,000.
The report acknowledged that just one Iraqi battalion is considered fully independent. But it said 36 Iraqi Army and special operations combat battalions had reached "level two" training where they can operate with minimal direct U.S. support, up from 24 in July.
"It is at level two that Iraqi units can take their own battle space, and it is at that level -- where there has been steady progress -- that the coalition is focusing efforts," the report said.