Afghanistan Weekly Reader: Public Support for Afghanistan at an All Time Low

Public support for the Afghanistan war continues to decline. According to a new CBS News/New York Times poll, 69% of Americans believe the U.S. should not be fighting in Afghanistan. 47% want to speed up the drawdown timeline.

The consistent drop in support for the war is certainly related to the troubling news of the situation in Afghanistan. Last year the U.S. and allies provided almost $16 billion in aid to Afghanistan. Also last year some $8 billion in cash was smuggled out of the country. Since 2002 the U.S. has spent over $50 billion training and equipping the Afghan National Security Forces. Yet the deputy commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan estimates that only about 1% of Afghan units can operate independently.

From ASG
Wars End, But War Costs Continue
Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski

The Afghanistan War will end eventually, the troops will come home, and the United States taxpayer will start saving billions a week. However, U.S. operations in Afghanistan will continue to be a significant expense long after the troops come home.

Poll: Support for war in Afghanistan hits all-time low
CBS News by Lucy Madison

According to the CBS News/New York Times survey, many Americans would like to get troops home sooner. Forty-seven percent of Americans said they would like to see the timetable for the departure of U.S. troops moved up. Thirty-three percent think the schedule for withdrawal should remain as is, and 17 percent think the U.S. should stay in Afghanistan for as long as it takes.

Billions in cash smuggled out of Afghanistan every year

CNN by Sara Sidner and Mitra Mobasherat
It is estimated $8 billion in cash was lugged out of the country last year by car, private jets and border crossings. That is almost double the entire country’s budget for 2011…Foreign aid is propping up Afghanistan’s economy. The question on every potential investor’s mind is whether Afghanistan will be able to sustain itself when the war is finally over.

Neighboring Countries Scramble To Be NATO’s Exit Route From Afghanistan
Radio Free Europe by Charles Recknagel

The United States today pays $500 million a year in transit fees to send military materiel through Central Asian states to Afghanistan.
Now, that amount will rise as Washington and other members of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) repatriate what has accumulated in Afghanistan over the past decade.

US has still not defeated the ‘al-Qaeda mentality’

Financial Times by Gideon Rachman
The killing of Osama bin Laden last year has given the US government all the “closure” it needs to justify a withdrawal from Afghanistan. Nato’s goals for the country are now minimal and focused entirely on security.

We Can’t Drone Our Way to Victory in Afghanistan
Foreign Policy by Micah Zenko

It’s time for U.S. officials to stop trying to swim against the tide of the public opinion of sovereign governments in Southwest Asia, and start developing a strategy for combating terrorism that does not overwhelmingly rely on unending Special Forces night raids and CIA drone strikes.

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