Friday, July 1, 2011

Who will pay?

One of the critical elements of the strategy for Afghanistan laid out by President Obama last week is that the United States will train and equip an Afghan army and national police force that can defend and secure Afghanistan after 2014, thus allowing U.S. forces to leave. To date, this effort has been marginally successful as it is faced with corruption, desertions, illiteracy, and Taliban infiltration. Assuming, optimistically, that this Afghan force can be established, its annual payroll will be around $11 billion per year. The total tax revenue of the Afghan government is approximately $1.5-2.0 billion per year…a $9.0 billion shortfall. While the U.S. is laying off policemen, firefighters, paramedics and teachers in its own cities and considering reductions to U.S. service members and retirees pay and benefits to reduce the defense budget, who do you think will be paying this $9.0 billion to Afghan soldiers and national police into perpetuity? The argument will be “We spent all that money to create the police and military force. We can’t just walk away from it now.” Perhaps NOW is the time to ask this $9.0 billion question.


  1. Rather interesting and disturbing given the point raised in a Trudy Rubin's July 12th article on Ahmed Wali Karzai in the Philadelphia Inquirer. AWK talked about Pakistan's role in the Taliban. Who then is the "real" enemy in this complex region?

  2. General

    We will find out that we can not create a professional army on a illegitimate and corrupt foundation. Stillwell found this out in China and we repeated the mistake in Vietnam.

    We can supply all the material goods necessary but not the political unity and will to fight.

    Lt Col (ret) Tom Raquer USAFR