In These New Times

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Sticker shock: NATO mulls shrinking pricey Afghan military

Posted by seumasach on February 4, 2012

NATO Suggests Other Countries Start Paying for It

Jason Ditz

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, with the argument that it is making Afghanistan handle their own security woes.

But this time, as NATO DMs met, the discussion was about making the unwieldy behemoth smaller, as the realization is finally hitting them that NATO is going to be on the hook in paying for that military basically forever.

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

So while the talks continue on trying 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 some money, 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 here or there, the number who are going to be willing to bankroll their military in perpetuity is likely low.

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