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War in Afghanistan (2001-present)

These are Afghanistan's best troops. The U.S. is backing a plan to create many more of them

These are Afghanistan's best troops. The U.S. is backing a plan to create many more of them

His knees swaying and his smooth face shadowed by an oversized helmet, Amir Khan Mohammad Naim did not look like an elite law enforcement officer.

But when a call went out in his rural hometown for recruits to join Afghanistan’s police commandos, the 21-year-old farmer’s son from the quiet province of Daykundi did not hesitate.

“My duty is to secure Afghanistan, meter by meter,” Naim said recently between drills at a police training center north of Kabul, where NATO advisors are overseeing part of a major transformation in Afghan security forces.

While conventional Afghan soldiers and police struggle to hold their ground against insurgents, the country’s special forces...

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