Afghanistan Weekly Reader: Over $4 Billion per Year for the Afghan Security Forces

The recent spate of violence in Afghanistan – two NATO servicemembers died just yesterday in two bomb explosions and an insurgent attack – have everyone wondering if the Afghan security forces are up to the task ahead. Just a few weeks ago, Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the deputy commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, estimated that only about 1% of Afghan units can operate independently.

The US has spent over $50 billion training and equipping the Afghan National Security Forces since 2001. A recently announced cut in force size will lower future costs. But the US and allies can still expect to pay billions for Afghan security well into the future. Anticipated costs: a total of more than $40 billion over the next ten years.

From ASG
$300 Million Taxpayer Dollars For A Broken Power Plant
Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski
Boondoggles like the Kabul Power Plant are a sign of where the U.S. strategy Afghanistan went wrong. Surely we could have used those funds for United States infrastructure projects.

May/June 2012
When America Leaves: Asia after the Afghan War
The American Interest by Rajan Menon

The United States retains various means to help Afghans and shape competition in Afghanistan. Hence post-American Afghanistan need not become non-American Afghanistan. Yet the United States cannot determine how the states of Greater Central Asia conduct themselves in the competition to shape Afghanistan: it will be but one player among many—and a distant one at that.

Lynch reverses field on Afghan mission
The Boston Globe by Bryan Bender

Lynch, frustrated by a lack of progress, is now breaking with the Obama administrationand calling on the president to speed up American withdrawal from Afghanistan by at least a year.

Broke Afghans Will Cut Their Military — And Obama’s War Plan
Wired by Spencer Ackerman

The U.S. will still provide some funding for the Afghans it will continue to train after 2014. But if the U.S. isn’t going to pay for a super-sized Afghan security force, then the cash-strapped NATO allies, who are even wearier of the Afghanistan war than the U.S. is, definitely won’t…But the looming cuts pose a deeper question: why did the U.S. spend billions of dollars building the Afghan soldiers and cops to an unsustainable size?

5 steps to better politics in Afghanistan
Foreign Policy by Paul Miller

The United States and United Nations should work with the Afghans instead to push for a grand political bargain that could actually make a difference in the counterinsurgency against the Taliban: a new Loya Jirga to amend the constitution, devolve power, adjust the electoral calendar, change the voting system, and invite the Taliban to form a political party.

Time to let Hamid Karzai kick us out of Afghanistan
Politico by Lawrence Korb

We have achieved our primary objectives of killing Osama bin Laden and decimating the leadership of Al Qaeda. No matter how long we stay, we cannot control the future of Afghanistan.

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