Afghanistan Weekly Reader: The House Supports Another Year of War at $90 Billion

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to spend $88.5 billion on the Afghanistan war next year, shooting down efforts to cut back on war costs. This week, in a show of oversight, Congress held two hearings on Afghanistan. The testimony offered at the hearings was sobering. In the first, experts spoke on allegations that U.S. military commanders tried “to put a better face on the Afghan war” by covering up abuses at an Afghan hospital. At the second hearing, witnesses argued that despite over ten years and $50 billion, U.S. efforts to train the Afghan security forces are faltering. Moreover, in an effort to cover up the lack of success, the Pentagon lowered the standards used to measure Afghan forces’ progress.

From ASG
Afghan withdrawal not even close to halfway done
Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski

If you read only the news headlines, you missed the big Afghanistan story this week. The Associated Press headline reads: “US Afghan withdrawal halfway done.” The first paragraph clarifies that withdrawal planned for this summer is halfway done. That means that 23,000 U.S. troops will be home by fall. 68,000 will remain in Afghanistan.

As Afghan Security Forces Training Flounders, Pentagon Alters Progress Levels, Hearing Testimony Shows
Huffington Post by Greg Rosalsky

After more than a decade and nearly $50 billion spent on building the Afghan National Security Forces, the Pentagon is still struggling to adequately train them and has lowered the standards used to assess their progress, security experts told Congress Tuesday.

U.S. Builds Afghan Air Base, but Where Are the Planes?
Wall Street Journal by Nathan Hodge

The budding Afghan air force was supposed to receive $355 million worth of planes custom-made for fighting guerrillas well ahead of the U.S. withdrawal in 2014. Equipped with machine guns, missiles and bombs, those reliable, rugged turboprop aircraft are cheaper to operate and easier to maintain than fighter jets.
The Afghans won’t get the planes on time.

Afghan war: Did US commanders cover up ‘horrific’ conditions at hospital?
CS Monitor by Anne Mulrine

Are Americans getting a clear picture of just how war in Afghanistan is going? In bracing testimony before a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee this week, top US military officials warned that they are not.

All quiet on the war front
LA Times by Doyle McManus

Here’s an important fact you haven’t heard much about in the presidential campaign: The armed forces of the United States are at war in at least four countries, and that number could increase any day.

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