The Pentagon is planning to slash U.S. assistance to Afghanistan’s army and police by more than half over the next three years, settling for a no-frills Afghan security force to battle the Taliban-led insurgency after American forces pull out.

Training and equipping Afghans to take over security has been key to the Obama administration strategy to withdraw all U.S. combat troops by the end of 2014. But the White House increasingly views high spending on the beleaguered Afghan military as unsustainable and has pressured the Pentagon for steeper cuts than previously planned…

“We realized we were starting to build an army based on Western army standards, and we realized they don’t need that capability,” said Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller, the deputy commander of the U.S.-led command in the capital that is assisting in recruiting, training and equipping Afghan forces.