According to previously undisclosed estimates, the United States is planning to spend $6 billion annually on supporting Afghanistan’s military and police starting in 2011, an expense which given the weak Afghan economy will probably continue more or less forever.
But the estimate could also be unrealistically low, as the administration spent about $9 billion this year and is planning to spend $11.6 billion next year on this expense. As US plans to increase the size of Afghanistan’s military seem to grow virtually annually, it seems the expected “drop” past 2011 is not based on anything.
Training pledges and goals seem to constantly go unfulfilled, and most officials openly say that it will take another decade, at best, to build the Afghan security forces, so the $6 billion “maintenance” level, which will be quite a bit lower than the training costs, will likely not come for quite some time.
This cost is only a comparatively small percentage of the overall amount the US spends annually on its occupation of Afghanistan. But it serves as perhaps the clearest reminder of how long the Obama Administration intends to keep the US chained to Afghanistan.
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