Tuesday, April 19, 2011

100,000 US Troops in Afghanistan

This is the first graphic you see in the new Brookings Afghanistan index. There are 46,000 other foreign forces in the country as well. In addition, according to the Congressional Research Service there were 112,092 Department of Defense contractors in Afghanistan last year (March 2010).

With no political commentary the raw numbers are startling. One of the most revealing charts is on revenue.

Figure 3.16 shows that Afghanistan’s general government revenue was $1.3 billion while foreign aid was $4.8 billion. That means more than two-thirds of the operating expenses of the country are being provided by the international community. Sadly – almost every bit of it is focused on a military framework for security - a strategy that threatens to leave a huge Afghan Army and Police the country can’t possibly sustain.

Today’s New York Times touches on the issue of how Afghans will pay for a greatly enlarged police and military, which by some estimates will require $10 billion a year to sustain come 2014 – 10 times the Afghan Governments annual tax revenue.

More evidence that the path towards peace must be Afghan driven - Afghan sized - and Afghan run.

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Afghanistan 101 is a blog of the American Friends Service Committee
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