Washington, Jan 17 (Agencies): Afghanistan's armed forces'number is set to go upto 378,000 by October 2012, even as countdown of US and NATO troop reduction comes close.

The 42 per cent increase over the current force levels
comes as the global partners are showing a determination to step-up the training mission hobbled by corruption and high desertion rates, New York Times reported.

The request is expected to be approved tomorrow at a
meeting of the standing security committee of the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board, a high-level governing body made up of officials from Afghanistan, the United Nations and allied nations.

The planned increase will mean billions more in spending to train and maintain the security forces, 95 per cent of whose cost is to be borne by the United States, the paper said.

The proposal of boosting the Afghan armed forces comes
amid reports that at one point in 2009, more Afghan soldiers were abandoning the army than joining it.

NATO officials hope the latest increase would help secure what they call an irreversible transition in 2014, when coalition forces are scheduled to turn over security responsibilities to the Afghan government.

In January 2010, the security panel approved a plan to
increase the army to 171,000 soldiers and the police to 134,000 officers by October 2011.

The plan for more troops calls for 23,000 more new forces for the army and the police by October 2012, which may further be expanded by additional 13,000 forces each.

The need for additional security forces has raised concerns among some Afghans that the government will conscript solders. Gen. Zahir Azimi, a Defense Ministry spokesman, said rumours of such a move were not true. "We are ahead of our goals," he said. "There is no discussion of conscription."