Afghanistan Weekly Reader: $2 Billion per Week for a War No One Wants

“The last couple months have been trying,” General John Allen, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, admitted in a recent congressional hearing. But, he added, “I am confident that we will prevail in this endeavor.”

Few share Gen. Allen’s optimism. Experts agree that the current U.S. strategy is failing, that we no longer have vital interests in Afghanistan, and that continuing the war is a waste of blood and treasure. The U.S. public also agrees. According to a recent CNN poll, more than 70% of Americans want to withdraw all U.S. troops in 2014 or earlier. Only 22% support keeping troops in Afghanistan after 2014.

This position is easy to understand. Almost 2,000 U.S. troops have lost their lives in the Afghanistan war—3 more died in a suicide bombing yesterday. The financial costs are also huge. In 2011 alone the U.S. spent $120 billion in direct war costs. In 2012 we continue to spend about $2 billion per week, for a war no one wants.

From ASG
Consensus On Afghanistan: Transitioning To The Afghan Public Protection Force Will Cost More
Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski
Each year billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are spent in Afghanistan, and we still do not effectively track where, or how much is spent. The latest Afghanistan oversight breakdown is the fracas over Afghanistan USAID security contractor costs.

Details Emerge on Coming U.S. Offensive in Eastern Afghanistan
National Journal by Yochi Dreazen
A campaign that will likely be the last major U.S. offensive of the Afghan War is set to begin later this year in eastern Afghanistan, the region where the conflict began and where senior NATO officials hope their involvement will effectively come to an end.

Afghanistan presses for answers on long-term U.S. military bases
Reuters by By Sanjeev Miglani and Hamid Shalizi

Afghanistan wants the United States to clearly spell out what sort of military presence it will leave behind once most of its combat troops leave by the end of 2014…It is also pressing Washington in talks over future cooperation to detail to be more forthcoming on what will be on offer for Afghan forces as they ready to take over responsibility security in the country that is still at war.

Don’t Prolong the Inevitable
New York Times Room for Debate by Stephen Walt
The United States should send soldiers in harm’s way only when vital interests are at stake. The outcome in Afghanistan will have little impact on United States security and it makes no sense to squander more blood and treasure there. Our NATO allies have figured this out and are heading for the exits. We should join them.

Ask the Experts: Will America ‘Win’ in Afghanistan?
Council on Foreign Relations Experts Roundtable

The consensus among civilian and military staffers and officials was that while roughly half thought the U.S. military could win in Afghanistan, almost nobody believed that it would. This disconnect has created an uncomfortable situation where some of the people who design, refine, and implement U.S. strategy in Afghanistan simply do not believe it will ultimately succeed.

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