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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

US wants to raise $15 billion to fund Afghan security forces through 2020

Last month it was reported that the United States would try to raise $15 billion to fund Afghan security forces through 2020, but without new conditions to ensure the money is not siphoned off before funding the programs it was meant to finance.

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The Washington Post reported in June that the demand will be made on July 9 at a NATO summit in Warsaw. About $10.5 billion is expected to be provided by the U.S. The funds would pay and clothe Afghan security forces while providing them with fuel, weapons and ammunition to fight the Taliban and now Islamic State insurgents..
Over the past 15 years billions of aid dollars have been wasted or even stolen. Major General Gordon Davis, commander of the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistna said NATO leaders will probably not link aid payments to new anti-corruption standards for the Afghan military. The U.S.-led coalition is still planning to fund 352,000 Afghan troops and police even though auditors have a number of times questioned whether there are actually that many. Davis said: “There was discussion last year about having some specific benchmarks before the Warsaw summit, but I think the allies felt it was impractical. There just wasn’t enough time.” He said NATO had confidence that Afghan president Ashraf Ghani would safeguard aid money. The U.S. political stance appears to be more hawkish. There appears little appetite for trying to impose stricter rules on providing aid for fear it might antagonize important U.S. political allies in Afghanistan.
Foreign ministers had agreed in May to extend their assistance past 2016. At the summit meeting in Warsaw on Friday and Saturday they are expected to confirm their support for Kabul as they see no alternative way to keep the country together and avoid having it fall into the hands of the Taliban. The conflict has been going on now for some 15 years. Ismail Aramaz, the senior NATO civilian representative in Afghanistan said: "These decisions are very much about demonstrating NATO's enduring and steadfast commitment to Afghanistan. Afghanistan will not stand alone."
The summit will happen just as President Obama must consider whether he will see US Afghan forces reduced from 9,800 to just 5,500 by the beginning of next year. Since the NATO international force ceased most combat operations at the end of 2014, the Taliban have made major territorial gains. They now control more territory than at any time since they were ousted from power in 2001.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has demanded that NATO should endorse concrete measures to ensure that civilians are protected during conflicts in Afghanistan. A letter to NATO said that the organization should press the Afghan government to stop abuses by its security forces, including attacks on health care facilities, recruitment of children and misuse of schools. The group recommended that NATO appoint a high-level envoy to deal with protection of civilians, and provide expert analysis and advice.
Brad Adams, Asia director of HRW said:“The Warsaw Summit is a crucial opportunity for NATO to commit to a more robust role in reducing Afghan civilian casualties. Despite NATO’s reduced military presence and redefined support mission, the alliance is well situated to make good on its pledges to help protect civilians...NATO is uniquely placed to improve protection for Afghan civilians due to its high-level engagement with those in a position to stop abuses, including the very officials who are personally responsible for abuses.NATO should deliver on its pledges and produce concrete measures to help protect Afghan civilians from armed conflict.”
UPDATE: "In a surprise statement Wednesday, Obama says security situation in Afghanistan warrants keeping 8,400 forces there when he leaves office".


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