Strengthening security: US urges world to fund Afghan troops

By AFP
Published: February 5, 2012

Defence Secretary Leon Penatta says ‘we must do everything we can to support this force’. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Defence Secretary Leon Penatta says ‘we must do everything we can to support this force’. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE Defence Secretary Leon Penatta says ‘we must do everything we can to support this force’. PHOTO: AFP/FILE
MUNICH: 

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta urged the international community on Saturday to help pay for strong Afghan security forces despite the worldwide economic pressure.

The United States is spending around $12 billion a year to train the Afghan security force (ANSF), which is expected to rise to 352,000 men in order to take over security when Nato combat troops withdraw at the end of 2014.

“To sustain sufficient security, the ANSF requires adequate financial support,” Panetta said in a speech in Munich, recalling that the international community had committed to helping Afghanistan at a Bonn conference in December.

The United States has forecast that the annual price tag of training and equipping Afghan security forces in coming years to be around $6 billion.

Washington wants the international community to contribute $1 billion per year after 2014 in addition to the US share, said a senior US defence official.

“I know we face intense pressure to reduce that support given the budget constraints all ISAF nations are facing,” Panetta said, referring to the 50 countries in the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force.

“But even as we will work to find ways to reduce ANSF costs over time, we cannot shortchange our commitment, nor count on other nations to fill the gap. We must do everything we can to support this force.”

The long-term size of the Afghan force and cost of maintaining it will be a key topic at a Nato summit in Chicago in May.

Nato defence ministers voiced hope during talks on Thursday and Friday that Afghan forces can take the lead across the country in 2013, while foreign troops shift to a backup role.

Panetta had caused a stir before arriving in Europe on Wednesday when he suggested that the United States hoped to wind down the combat mission as early as mid-2013.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Feb 5, 2012 - 11:07AM

    Uncle SAM its your headache

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  • nabeela
    Feb 5, 2012 - 2:45PM

    how much its easy after wide scale devastation to beg for the sake of those crushed ones.Now USA is on achilles heals and want to get rid off this war as soon as possible because its economy suffering a lot. defeat after defeat, first was in iraq and 2nd afghanistan. not any nation is invincible USA must now learn that.

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  • Tony C.
    Feb 5, 2012 - 2:56PM

    I fully agree with Saira’s comment. The U.S. created the Afghan mess all on their own. I think it was a result of one Mr. Blair’s many “mission accomplished” strategies. I have been predicting for some time that America will attempt to slide out of its commitment eventually, or at least for as little money as possible. Just out of curiosity, I wonder what the cost of maintaining the Taliban and their allies are? I am quite sure that it is a lot less than $12 billion. Best of luck to the Afghan people. I think they are in for a rough ride in the near future.

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Feb 5, 2012 - 3:17PM

    I doubt if the international community would be interested in financing the training of security forces in Afghanistan, if the West backs off. There are only four countries in Asia that have – selfish – interests in Afghanistan’s future: China, India, Iran and Pakistan, and they all pursue different agendas, justified by pragmatic realism..

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  • Tony
    Feb 5, 2012 - 4:52PM

    Why do they keep saying international community, when actually there are only a handful of countries ganging together. there are about 193+ countries in the UN and I am sure
    less than 50 countries supporting them. they are more like thugs if you ask me. By the way the so call international community promised aid to Pakistan during the horrible floods in Pakistan and to date they have received a small amount of the money promised. so do you expect anybody to help in this mess.Recommend

  • Dr Jamil Chaudri
    Feb 5, 2012 - 11:04PM

    Look like American ploy to get India enmeshed more intricately into Afghan affairs

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  • Roflcopter
    Feb 5, 2012 - 11:09PM

    what a joke

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  • johnantony
    Feb 6, 2012 - 9:34AM

    The United States has forecast that the annual price tag of training and equipping Afghan security forces in coming years to be around $6 billion

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  • Tony C.
    Feb 6, 2012 - 2:28PM

    @Tony C.:
    I made a mistake when I said that Mr. Blair claimed “mission accomplished”. It was Mr. Bush. I must have had a senior moment. However, I wish to make a comment on the $6 billion dollars Afghanistan will need to maintain its military when the brave U.S./NATO lads have departed. Excuse me for being cynical but I have a bad feeling that the U.S. will provide $6 billion credit for the Afghan Government, will then unload all the obsolete military hardware it wants to get rid of to Afghanistan, and say that it is worth $6 billion. Dreadful to say this, but America has a bad history.

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Feb 7, 2012 - 10:41AM

    Very well done and said Mr. Leon Panetta.After destroying poor Afghanistan’s economy now you are begging aid from the world.Have you wasted your $$$$$$ on the useless Afghanistan’s war to save the world from terrorism?Now this is your first and foremost duty to rebuild destroyed by you Afghanistan’s economy instead of begging aid from the international community.

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