This is How Much More the US Will Spend to Keep More Troops in Afghanistan

Posted: July 8, 2016 in Uncategorized
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President Barack Obama has announced that at least 8,400 US troops will remain on the ground in Afghanistan next year, instead of the originally planned 5,500, due to instability in the country. That’s going to cost you.

Obama’s pledge to end US military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan has vanished, as he told journalists on Wednesday that he will leave decisions on the future of a US military presence in Afghanistan to his successor.

“The decision I’m making today ensures that my successor has a solid foundation for progress in Afghanistan, as well as the flexibility to address the threat of terrorism as it evolves,” Obama said at the White House. “I firmly believe the decision I’m announcing is the right thing to do.”

Currently some 9,800 US troops are deployed in Afghanistan. Obama’s original decision to cut down that number to 5,500 by January 2017 has yielded to an alteration of that plan, based on the recommendations and assessments of his generals and advisors.

Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the president’s policy shift on Twitter, posting that the move is, “a strong signal of our continued commitment.”

Washington DC think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), has calculated that maintaining 8,400 troops in the middle-eastern state through the end of Obama’s administration will cost the US an additional $3.5 billion.

Todd Harrison, senior fellow and director of defense budget analysis at CSIS, tweeted that the cost per soldier in Afghanistan amounts to some  $1.2M per year, and therefore, by his calculations, keeping 2,900 additional troops will require an extra $3.5 billion in the 2017 fiscal year.

Harrison stated that his estimates incorporate the full additional cost of a soldier deployed in Afghanistan, compared to one stationed stateside, and includes contractor expense. According to a Central Command census report from April, there are 28,626 contractors in Afghanistan, almost three times the amount of US troops (9,640).

Some 48 percent of contractors contribute logistics and maintenance to US personnel, according to the document. Others work in security, base support, management and administration, construction, translation and interpretation, among other areas.

The Pentagon has requested almost $583 billion for fiscal 2017, including $524 billion for its base budget and $59 billion for its war budget, or overseas contingency operations (OCO), according to documents. Defense-funding levels for the next fiscal year have not yet been approved by Congress.

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