The White House, in recent news, has pressured the Pentagon to continue slashing spending going to U.S. assistance in Afghanistan. Obama hopes to withdraw all U.S. combat troops by the end of 2014 and has been focusing on this reduced spending in the area.
The cut backs that the Pentagon has now proposed would put the U.S.’s expenditures on Afghan security forces to less than $6 billion by 2014. In the last six years, the Pentagon has spent more than $39 billion to build up the forces fighting the Taliban-led insurgency. The U.S. has been footing the bill for the costs incurred by Afghanistan’s military and police, as the government in Kabul only brings in about $2 billion a year.
The latest push to cut expenses is causing friction between the White House and some in the military, however. Earlier this year, Obama ordered the withdrawal of 100,000 troops faster than the commanders recommended. One military official said,
“Everyone knows that funding levels have to come down, but if you go too far, you put at risk the entire strategy, which really rests on making [Afghan forces] competent enough … that they can assume the lead as we draw down.”
Up for Discussion
No one quite knows yet how deep the cuts are going to go. It’s still being discussed by U.S. and Afghan officials. They are considering reducing the aid to below $4 billion a year, as one official revealed. Even Marine Gen. John R. Allen, who recently took on the top command in Afghanistan, is embracing the efforts to cut the training and equipment budget. He is urging North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies to add to their contributions.