US Mulls Proposal for Another 73,000 Afghan Troops

US 'Unsure' It Can Afford Troops, Afghan Govt Surely Can't

President Obama is said to be debating calls by officials to add another 73,000 troops to the long-term size of the Afghan military, sparking concerns that the US will be spending upwards of $12 billion annually just on the Afghan military.

The US spending alone would put Afghanistan roughly in the top 20 nations in the world in military expenditure, meaning the US will be spending more money on the Afghan military than Iran spends on its entire military, and nearly as much as the world spends keeping Israel the dominant power in the Middle East.

This has led to questions of whether the US can afford these enormous outlays of money on someone else’s military in perpetuity. The short answer is no, and the long answer is that with the deficits as high as they are the US should be looking at a military budget this size for itself instead of as a gift to some occupied nation.

At the same time, if officials want Afghanistan to have this ridiculous large (albeit woefully incompetent) military, they will have to use US taxpayer dollars to do so, because the entire Afghan economy is only about as large as what the US is envisioning as their long-term military budget.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.