NATO Officials Fight Back Against Reducing Size of Afghan Military

Cuts Would Be 'Delayed' Until 2017

There are many ways that the NATO occupation of Afghanistan is to remain a major expense for decades to come, but perhaps the most significant is the massive Afghan military. Created by NATO as a way to escalate the conflict without adding more of their own troops, the Afghan military is expected to cost $6 billion a year going forward.

And that’s about $6 billion more than the Afghan government has to spend. Earlier this year NATO proposed a plan to trim the military by about a third, cutting the costs a bit beyond 2014.

Now NATO’s defense and foreign ministers are moving hard against the effort, saying that the cuts would threaten the war. Instead they are pushing a new scheme that would delay the cuts until at least 2017.

Still and all, this will be $6.2 billion a year in costs until 2017, and over $4.1 billion after. No one seems to know where that money is coming from, and beyond Britain’s $110 million pledge there has been no offer of funds. The assumption seems to be that the US will cover the difference.

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.