By Adam Brookes
BBC News, Washington
The camera shows a group of Afghan soldiers standing on a cold dusty plain, listening to an American instructor. He is showing them how to use a new American rifle.
In many Afghan units, the old AK47s are being thrown away now. The new Afghan army will have new weapons: refurbished M16s.
The new weapons may be more powerful. In a firefight, they may give Afghan troops an edge over insurgents who use Soviet-era AKs.
But the new rifles are also unfamiliar. They require more maintenance, more care.
“Nepotism in the army is probably one of the things that hurt them the most”
Lt Alan Campbell
The camera shows the Afghan soldiers hunched against the wind, as the instructor talks them through the basics of the M16 rifle, through a Dari interpreter.
The film I am watching was shot by an American lieutenant: Alan Campbell, a US Army reservist in his late twenties. He trained Afghan troops for nine months.
His video is instructive. It exudes a sense of the colossal task facing American trainers as they try to assemble a modern fighting force in Afghanistan, one that can tackle the Taliban, defend the central government, and – one day – allow US, British and other Nato troops to go home.
When I interview Alan Campbell, it sounds to me as if he found the young Afghan army troubled and unsure. He says corruption was a “serious problem”.
“Corruption was big: money, pay, accountability for soldiers, accountability for weapons, accountability for sensitive items, vehicles, fuel, ammunition,” he continues.
“In the big picture, that’s a big problem.”
US officers have told us privately of equipment issued to Afghan units disappearing and US troops finding it on sale in the local markets.
They also told us about Afghan army vehicles that appear to get two miles to the gallon of fuel.
“Either there’s a leak in the tank, or that gas is disappearing,” said one officer.
“There are pockets of brilliance and we need to expand that”