Afghanistan Study Group Weekly Reader: $325 Million Dollars a Day in Afghanistan …

Yesterday Amanda Terkel at the Huffington Post reported the resignation of Herb Richardson, the acting Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).  The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan is in charge of “ferreting out waste, fraud and abuse in reconstruction projects”.  This is the second individual to hold this post in a year.  Those difficulties aside, a little nugget was buried in this article, that may have been missed by most.  A democratic aid is quoted as saying “When we’re spending $325 million per day in Afghanistan, now is hardly the time to loosen the strings of accountability tied to each hard-earned American taxpayer dollar. …”  That’s right $325 million per day in Afghanistan.


“Extraordinary Sacrifices”: We don’t need to lose any more of our precious resources in Afghanistan
The Afghanistan Study Group by Matthew Hoh and Clarissa Griebel

For almost ten years the United States has been in Afghanistan. On Saturday, our forces there suffered the single largest loss of life in one day.  Just a few weeks after the President’s announcement that a withdrawal of 30,000 troops would begin this year, 30 American troops were lost when Taliban forces shot down a Chinook transport helicopter.  In addition, to U.S. casualties, which included Navy Seal Commandos, one civilian interpreter and seven Afghan commandos were also killed in the attack.  What are we still doing in Afghanistan?


Lawmakers question CERP funds in Afghanistan
Army Times by Michelle Stein

As Congress hammers out new spending cuts, a special emergency fund for commanders in Afghanistan has remained largely out of the limelight. But Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and others have continually pressed for more oversight and accountability.

World fails Afghanistan despite spending billions
Reuters by Michelle Nichols

The global community has failed to create a politically stable and economically viable Afghanistan despite pouring billions of dollars into the South Asian nation during a decade-long war against the Taliban, says the International Crisis Group. The Brussels-based think tank said the United States and its allies still lacked a coherent policy to strengthen Afghanistan ahead of a planned withdrawal of foreign combat troops from the unpopular war by the end of 2014.

Copter Crash Highlights Fight In Eastern Afghanistan
NPR by NPR Staff and Wires

A U.S. military helicopter crashed early Saturday in eastern Afghanistan, killing 30 Americans in the deadliest incident for U.S. troops since the war began. Seven Afghan commandos were also killed. Sources told NPR the Taliban shot down the helicopter as it was on a special overnight mission targeting an insurgent compound in Wardak province.


Close to Kabul: Chinook Tragedy in the Tangi Valley

The Atlantic by Steve Clemons

30 Americans of whom 22 were Navy Seals as well as 7 Afghan troops and a translator were killed yesterday when Taliban fighters successfully downed a Chinook helicopter with a rocket launched grenade in the Tangi Valley of Wardak Province in Afghanistan.

A New Tragedy and Old Issues in Afghanistan
The National Interest by Paul Pillar

The tragic loss of 30 U.S. service members and eight Afghans in the crash, apparently from enemy fire, of a Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan over the weekend elicits—as does any other prominent and deadly incident—attempts to draw larger lessons. The drawing is done from different angles, sometimes with an agenda attached. The Taliban, playing off the inclusion of Navy SEALs among the victims, will portray the shoot-down as a calculated reprisal for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, rather than as a lucky shot by an insurgent armed with a rocket-propelled grenade.

Why Are Good Men Still Dying in Afghanistan?
The Good Men Project by Tom Matlack

I had just finished the harrowing account of just how we got Bin Laden in the New Yorker– including a Navy Seal who tackled two people he had reason to believe had suicide bomb vests on to save the rest of his team–when I got the first report of our largest single day death toll in the wars that have dragged for near a decade now. The New York Times reports:

Why the Surge in Afghanistan has failed
Afghanistan Headlines Examiner by Michael Hughes

A number of prominent security experts have concluded that President Barack Obama’s troop surge has not only fallen far short of its objectives, but has left Afghanistan in a more violent, corrupt and dependent state.

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