Army: Cost of Afghan Exit to Grow Sharply

Insists Sequestration a 'Threat' to 2014 Pullout

by Jason Ditz, February 27, 2013

The latest and perhaps most unusual argument against sequestration coming out of the US Army’s leadership is that the price of withdrawing some of its troops from Afghanistan in 2014 continues to rise, and that they won’t be able to afford to follow through without the additional funds.

Leadership officials, quoted in the Army Times, complain that the cash for “extra transportation” just isn’t there, and that costs are going to keep going up, citing the additional near-term costs of the drawdown from Iraq as an example.

On the other hand, the suggestion appears farcical in that the cost of keeping occupation forces in Afghanistan is in and of itself dramatically higher than the cost of not occupying Afghanistan, so not withdrawing from Afghanistan cannot in any way be spun as a “cost-saving” scheme.

That said, the cost of withdrawing for Afghanistan does continue to rise, primarily because of the enormous amount of extra equipment the US sent to the nation during the surge. A massive number of shipping containers, never opened or properly documented, are just sitting on various bases in Afghanistan, and officials have even talked about having to send a “surge” of logistics people just to open the crates and see what’s in them. Canada faced a similar problem, discovering that their ‘unopened’ crates had been opened by someone, looted, and filled back up with sand.

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