In 2009, the Congressional Research Service provided a stark metric, that it costs the US government $1 million per soldier in occupied Afghanistan. From 2008 to 2013, that figure rose a bit, and averaged about $1.3 million per by the end.
But costs keep soaring, for some reason, and the latest Pentagon war budget request is estimating the costs now at $2.1 million per soldier on the ground, insisting the spike is a product of the drawdown.
The Pentagon likes to blame the drawdown for a lot of things in Afghanistan, but analysts say that doesn’t make sense, since troop movements have been even greater in past years, during past surges, without a similarly gaudy budget.
The Pentagon seems instead to be estimating costs dramatically higher than the troop levels would justify, as part of their ongoing efforts to get more funding at as many levels as possible.