Money Pit: Afghan army to cost U.S. billions of dollars after 2014 withdrawal

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Greg Jaffe
Washington Post
February 17, 2012

The U.S. military expects that sustaining the Afghan army and police forces after the planned withdrawal of American combat forces in 2014 will cost about $4 billion a year and that most of that money will have to come from the United States and other outside donors, said a senior military official Thursday.

The Obama administration plans to announce the enduring price tag for the Afghan troops at a NATO summit in May. The exact cost of paying, equipping and training the Afghan forces will depend on their size, which is the subject of debate in Kabul and Washington.

“If we are going to succeed in Afghanistan, we are going to have to make a commitment to sustaining the Afghan security forces, and my sense is that is recognized,” the senior military official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing deliberations. “That is what we are driving toward, and that is what will be announced in May at the summit.”

In recent years, the United States has spent tens of billions of dollars on Afghan forces to increase their numbers and add infrastructure. This year, the Obama administration’s budget for Afghan forces is about $11.2 billion, about twice the planned budget of $5.7 billion in 2013.

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