NATO Sees Failure in Afghanistan, Jostles to Foot the Bill

Some are suggesting reducing the size of the Afghan forces

The goals for the U.S. and its NATO allies in Afghanistan have been significantly scaled down, as leaders of the alliance meeting in a Chicago summit this weekend acknowledge the utter failure of the war.

The new goals have abandoned lofty notions like democracy and are settling on making sure Afghanistan has security forces that will prevent an al-Qaeda safe haven on behalf of the U.S. But even that may be unattainable and simply costs too much.

The Obama administration is asking the up to 60 nations and organizations attending this weekend’s conference to pitch in and help pick up the tab for the over $4 billion in aid Afghanistan will need annually. After all, America still will have to pick up most of the tab for all the JSOC teams conducting night raids and drone attacks into Pakistan which will continue long after the 2014 “withdrawal,” until about 2024.

The current Afghan National Security Force is at about 345,000 – an army of 195,000 and a police force of almost 150,000 – just shy of the goal of 352,000. But they are not sufficient: they consistently get into gun battles with their American and NATO counterparts and less than 1 percent of them can operate independently, without NATO guidance.

So NATO is expected to endorse a smaller force, with some suggesting numbers as low as 228,500. Even that will be difficult for the West to cover financially.

Michael O’Hanlon, a hawkish senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, suggested that everybody just wants out of the failure of a war in Afghanistan, saying NATO can “not even worry about whether [they] lose the war,” and doesn’t want to waste anymore money on it.

Last 5 posts by John Glaser

Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.

  • Walter Cole

    NATO has turned into a club of world troublemakers, under the leadership of the US.

    The EU should have the guts to finally begin its own DOD – it would then have the largest standing army in the world. The last time the EU tried (Tony Blair) to create a European defense, George Bush and company jumped in with both feet saying that it would be a wasteful duplication, that NATO was working just fine (and that the US would still be in control).

  • JDonald

    I don't want one Canadian dollar to go towards supporting the continued American objectives in Afghanistan. George Bush started the whole fiasco alone and the USA should pay the total costs of getting out of the Afghan mess, rebuilding the infrastructure of Afghanistan and Iraq and giving these people the right of self-determination. If the USA is held responsible for all the unrest they create around the world, much of it one behalf of Israel, they should soon learn the true cost of international interference. Hilary Clinton should have to chip in her wealth to pay the piper.

  • Johnny_Warbucks

    10 years and 1 trillion bucks later, they worry about cost. Ha ha ha!

    Thank Ford for our fearless leaders, the best and the brightest in the world.

  • Yonatan

    Maybe the US should have accepted the Taliban's offer to hand over Bin Laden to a Muslim court (where the US could have captured or killed him as they wished). It would have saved an enormous number of lives and money.

  • CanuckBC

    I think NATO should be dissolved. They are just bunch of corrupted idiots, who not only kills people in foreign countries, but doing so they are killing economies of their own countries. Look at the facts: Canada had been able to build trans-Canada highway and other big infrastructure projects from public money with all those bridges and stuff which goes along with projects like that. Now – every new bridge is built as a user fee tolled on use from taxpayers. There has been set up tons of other tolls or user fees for services which used to be "prepaid" by taxes people pay. Cost of lifeline ferry to to Vancouver Island recently skyrocketed making it another milking cow of government. Skytrain was built 20 years ago from public money as it should have been since it is public transportation but for new planned expansion of it a new set of taxes and hidden taxes are prepared. These are just few of all the examples but it is enough to see that there is something wrong with government, when with the same amount or more taxes collected (I do not remember any significant lowering of taxes) they are not able to do what governments twenty – thirty .. years ago were able to accomplish without any other taxes and user fees involved. Money going to senseless warring is simply missing.

    NATO was built to protect Western Europe from Soviet Union and should have died with death of Soviet Union.

  • smithy1000

    NATO sucks.

    How many innocent people have they killed?

    • cleverly

      Nato was created to keep the Germans down, the Americans in and the Russians out. 1st General Secretary Lord Ismay