Afghanistan is primed to receive roughly $15 billion from the U.S. and its NATO allies through 2020 despite an extensive track record of fraud, waste and abuse.
A NATO summit in Poland on July 8 will establish funding for Afghan security forces for the next four years. U.S. obligations at the Warsaw event are expected to cost taxpayers $10.5 billion.
Maj. Gen. Gordon “Skip” Davis Jr., commander of Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, which oversees coalition support for Afghan security forces, told the Washington Post on June 18 that there “wasn’t time” last year to craft reform benchmarks that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani would need to meet before funds were allocated.
“I think the allies felt it was impractical,” Maj. Gen. Davis said. “There just wasn’t enough time.”
President Obama will keep 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan this year, and NATO is expected to request 9,000 foreign troops for the war-torn nation through 2017.
Americans have spent $68 billion to rebuild and support Afghanistan’s army and police force since 2001, the newspaper reported. Roughly $45 billion has been spent on direct humanitarian assistance.
“We don’t have the money for this,” Dr. Neta Crawford, a professor of political science at Boston University and co-director of the Cost of War Project, told the Post.
The professor pegs the real cost to U.S. taxpayers at $1.8 trillion when one factors in troop and diplomat deployments, veterans’ care, interest on the national debt, and long-term spending.
Brig. Gen. Charles H. Cleveland, chief spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, told the Post that Afghan forces finally have “momentum” against Taliban forces.
“That is not to say everything is going to be fine in a month and there won’t be bad days … but overall, they have made an improvement,” the officer said.
John F. Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan Reconstruction, has said that neither Afghan nor coalition leaders can verify the number of soldiers and police officers in the nation’s security forces, the Post reported.
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