US postwar support to Afghans could top $12 billion a year

ADVERTISEMENT
Afghan leaders claim they need between $6 billion to $7 billion a year to support the country's struggling economy, which has been plagued by rampant government fraud and corruption.

That money will be on top of the $4 billion to $5 billion American and coalition commanders estimate will be needed to invest into the country's nascent national security forces, Afghanistan's Central Bank Governor Noorullah Delawar said Tuesday.

U.S. commanders estimated Kabul would need between $4 billion to $5 billion a year to maintain the security gains coalition forces fought for in central and southern Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in the country, told Congress in March. 

"I have heard from Afghan government ministers, somewhere from $6 to $9 billion assistance is required. I think, I see it at about $6 [to] $7 billion a year without military, it's just economic assistance, that should help us to go over, and continue our economic growth," he told Reuters.

Delawar's comments Tuesday come as members of Afghanistan's military and domestic ministries plan to meet with officials from the United States and other world powers to hammer out the details on a postwar financial support plan.

The meeting, set for later this year in Tokyo, will build upon the base postwar deal reached between Afghan president Hamid Karzai and President Obama in May.

The deal outlines the parameters of future U.S. military and financial support to the Afghan government over the next 10 years, beginning in 2014. That is when the final cadre of American soldiers are scheduled to leave the country.

The plan struck between Washington and Kabul in May did not include any specifics on U.S. financial contributions to the country after the 2014 withdrawal deadline.

In the negotiations running up to the postwar agreement reached in May, Karzai had demanded the Obama administration include funding guarantees into the deal.

During those talks, Karzai indicated he wanted the United States to shell out between $1 billion to $2 billion annually to help train and equip the Afghan National Security Forces.

American lawmakers, including Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), were adamantly opposed to any postwar funding guarantees.

Given the U.S. budget problems and doubts about how the money will be spent in Afghanistan, any promise of U.S. financial support to Afghanistan would be a hard sell for members of Congress, Levin said at the time. 

The Michigan Democrat also openly questioned whether including funding guarantees for the Afghans would circumvent Capitol Hill's traditional role overseeing the federal budget purse strings.