The Telegraph's Ben Farmer in Kabul is reporting that the United States and Afghanistan are close to signing a strategic pact which would allow thousands of U.S. troops to remain in that country until at least 2024.
The agreement would allow not only military trainers to stay to build up the Afghan army and police, but also American special forces soldiers and air power to remain.
The prospect of such a deal has already been met with anger among Afghanistan’s neighbours including, publicly, Iran and, privately, Pakistan.
It also risks being rejected by the Taliban and derailing any attempt to coax them to the negotiating table, according to one senior member of Hamid Karzai’s peace council.
A withdrawal of American troops has already begun following an agreement to hand over security for the country to Kabul by the end of 2014.
But Afghans wary of being abandoned are keen to lock America into a longer partnership after the deadline. Many analysts also believe the American military would like to retain a presence close to Pakistan, Iran and China.
Wait, WAIT a minute ... the same government who calls U.S. personnel in Afghanistan "occupiers" actually wants us to stay? Folks, this is not/not a healthy relationship. The somebodies need some serious therapy. Call meee! I got names to recommend.
Anyway, when I wrote this post, I did a screen grab of how much we've spent on the war in Afghanistan (see below from http://costofwar.com/en/). By the time you read this, the amount is higher, of course, because the cost just drips on like a leaky faucet. Where are the plumbers when you really need them, huh? .... drip ....drip...drip....drip....
I was thinking of soldiers for 2023 entering kindergarten this fall; miss by 12 months! Youngest members bore the heaviest cost in Iraq, and no doubt, in Afghanistan, too. More here.
So if true that the United State and Afghanistan are kinda keen on continuing this dysfunctional marriage of inconvenience, at least until 2024, we may have to call Afghanistan our pretend 51st state until then.
I don't think this is an unfair description since Afghanistan is the destination of so much pork from the US Treasury. It is a surprise that its economy has not been dolarized yet. And to think that the Afghans can't even vote! Just imagine how much more money is allocated over there if even half of its 29 million inhabitants can vote!
Meanwhile, the taxpayers of Detroit, Michigan which has the highest poverty rate (36.4%) among American cities with populations greater than 250,000 will pay $205.1 million for its share of the Afghanistan war spending for FY2011. For the same amount of money, the following could be provided:
154,202 Children Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR
2,869 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR
3,905 Firefighters for One Year OR
28,881 Head Start Slots for Children for One Year OR
64,154 Households with Renewable Electricity - Solar Photovoltaic for One Year OR
171,078 Households with Renewable Electricity-Wind Power for One Year OR
26,764 Military Veterans Receiving VA Medical Care for One Year OR
49,682 People Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR
3,200 Police or Sheriff's Patrol Officers for One Year OR
17,590 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR
36,952 Students receiving Pell Grants of $5550
Now if we calculate the cost of war share based on FY2011 numbers, it looks like Detroit, Michigan will be in the hook for some $2.6663 billion for Afghanistan in the next 13 years.
A pretend 51st state is not/not a laughing matter. I think its time we get out of the pretend 51st state business and start rebuilding our real states.