29 de marzo de 2012

Si crees que las guerras se acaban ya, bendito...

U.S. seeks more money for Afghan force
By Karen DeYoung, Published: March 27 The Washington Post
The Obama administration has made an urgent appeal for international donors to pledge more money to pay for Afghanistan's security forces after the departure of U.S. and coalition combat troops at the end of 2014.
In formal diplomatic demarches sent to 64 countries this month, and in direct appeals by President Obama and top national security aides, the administration has outlined a $4.1 billion annual budget for the Afghan army and police, according to U.S. and foreign officials.
.At least $1.3 billion would come from existing foreign donors, triple the amount they currently spend. The Afghan government would contribute $500 million, and the United States would pay the rest. The request for indefinite commitments comes as the United States and its partners in Afghanistan are under pressure to cut costs and end an increasingly unpopular war.
The administration hopes to secure the pledges before a NATO summit in Chicago in May. So far, however, there have been no specific replies to the funding appeals, an administration official said. "We've gotten a lot of questions and a lot of 'We're thinking about it,' " the official said.
U.S. officials and diplomats from Asian, European and Arab countries that received the appeal discussed the matter only on the condition of anonymity. A diplomat from a close U.S. ally said his country share the "objective" of maintaining a strong Afghan security force. "But," the diplomat said, "we have a very restricted budget and a very severe fiscal situation."
An Arab diplomat said his government wants more information on how the Obama administration arrived at its calculations, how much others will contribute and how the money will be administered within corruption-plagued Afghanistan. But, he said, "we'll probably end up paying."
Still others, particularly in Europe, pointed out that although U.S. money may flow more freely from the Pentagon than from the State Department, the opposite is true in their countries. Some said they will find it easier to pledge development funding for Afghanistan — a separate appeal for post-2014 money that will be made in July at an international conference in Tokyo — than to provide more military spending.
In December, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told the international community that after 2014, his country will need at least $10 billion annually in combined security and development assistance until 2025.
Afghanistan's gross domestic product is about $17 billion. The United States spent about $12 billion last year, 95 percent of the total cost, to train and equip Afghanistan's army and police. Since 2009, police salaries have been paid from a $5 billion development assistance fund established by Japan that will expire at the end of
The combined Afghan force is expected to reach a target strength of 352,000 in October. U.S. military officials have estimated that the force's expenditure could be cut in half after this year once the target number is reached. The post-2014 budget also anticipates additional savings from a reduction in the size of the force of up to one-third by 2017, a projection that assumes successful reconciliation with the Taliban.