Latest Developments in Afghanistan
Reuters, September 14, 2011
(Reuters) - A Senate panel on Tuesday approved a $1.6 billion cut in projected U.S. funding for Afghan security forces, part of a significant reduction in outlays for training and equipping Afghan army and police expected in the coming years.
The United States started withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan in July with the goal of handing over lead security control to an expanded Afghan army and police force by the end of 2014. It has spent billions bulking up Afghan security forces to prepare for that day.
But the Pentagon is in the process of deciding how quickly those costs might come down in the next several years from the $12.8 billion it had initially projected in spending for fiscal year 2012.
Senator Daniel Inouye, the chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, said $1.6 billion was being cut because of an "overstated requirement" identified by the U.S. military in Afghanistan.
U.S. officials acknowledged to Reuters that total spending on training and equipping Afghan forces could fall much further. A figure of $6 billion in funding, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, was probably within the realm of consideration, one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
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