Sticker Shock: NATO Mulls Shrinking Pricey Afghan Military

NATO Suggests Other Countries Start Paying for It

Every time NATO DMs meet on Afghanistan it’s a good bet that the plan is going to involve making the Afghan military even bigger. It has been a safe strategy, based on the premise that it is making Afghanistan handle its own security woes.

But this time, as NATO DMs met, the discussion was about making the unwieldy behemoth smaller, as they are finally realizing that NATO will have to finance the military indefinitely.

The enormous $11.6 billion price tag, nearly eight times the revenues of the entire Afghan government, is ending the delusion that the Karzai government will be able to pay for it even a decade down the road.

While the talks contemplate how to make that military a little more affordable (not for Afghanistan, surely, but for NATO), Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has raised the idea of other, non-NATO countries chipping in, saying it’d be “much better in a longer-term perspective.” Though a number of nations have offered to give the Afghan government a little aid, the number willing to bankroll the military in perpetuity is likely low.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of