Thursday, May 15, 2014

Afghan legacy

Several years ago, when I first learned of the plans to greatly expand the Afghan army and national police, I expressed concern that Afghanistan would be turned into a garrison state, and the size of the forces was unsustainable.  That appears to be the judgment of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan, too.

[John] Sopko, in prepared remarks for the Middle East Institute think tank, said U.S. funding for Afghan reconstruction has topped the amount spent rebuilding Britain or Germany following World War Two. Annual payments are more than what Washington gives to Israel, Egypt and Pakistan combined, he said.
The result is that the government of Afghanistan, one of the world's poorest countries, needs an annual budget of about $7.6 billion, but is able to raise only about $2 billion from its people. Without contributions from donor countries, it will not be able to make up the shortfall, Sopko said.
Sopko also indicated that several planned development projects would not be completed or would not likely be used in the future because of their high costs.

How many U.S. politicians are going to be willing to vote for the foreign aid needed just to keep Afghanistan from going bankrupt, given all our prior aid?

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