US transfers vehicles, weapons to Afghan military

The United States presented hundreds of armored vehicles and trucks and thousands of weapons to the Afghan army Thursday as Afghanistan braces for renewed fighting with Taliban-led insurgents. The donation of 800 military vehicles and more than 12,000 weapons is part of a critical effort to build an Afghan army able to defend the country on its own and eventually allow US and NATO-led forces to pull back. "These modern technologies are a step toward the vision of the Afghan National Army: a well equipped, well-trained, well-led, self-sustaining army," US Maj. Gen. Robert Durbin, who heads the training of the new force, said at a handover ceremony on a sprawling military base near the capital, Kabul. More than 200 freshly painted Humvees, trucks and other armored vehicles were on display alongside samples of the light and heavy weapons handed over. There were also socks, underwear and gloves for the Afghan soldiers. The donation comes ahead of the arrival of spring, when Taliban militants and other insurgents are expected to resume attacks on Afghan and foreign troops to undermine President Hamid Karzai's US-backed government.