‘Civilian Surge’ in Afghanistan: $1.7 Billion and Growing

Each Civilian Employee Costs $500,000 Per Year

A new audit detailing the cost of the Afghan War has put the price-tag on the “civilian surge” that began in 2009 at $1.7 billion so far, with warnings that the cost will rise precipitously going forward.

The report said that civilian government employees cost nearly as much as soldiers, putting the price tag at approximately $500,000 per “reconstruction expert” compared to $697,000 per soldier. Both costs are rising quickly.

An even bigger part of the problem, however, is that the experts don’t appear any more successful at transforming Afghanistan than the soldiers have been, and repeated audits have shown massive amounts of money being wasted on unwise projects, or simply stolen outright.

As with the Pentagon, however, the State Department is vigorously defending the program, saying the $1.7 billion was actually less if you didn’t count the costs of housing and office space, and warned against future cuts.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. 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.