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Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:58 AM

The high cost of disengagement

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/the-high-cost-of-disengagement/2012/12/26/c9d85764-4e0b-11e2-8b49-64675006147f_story.html

The high cost of disengagement
Walter Pincus
By Walter Pincus, Published: December 26

The United States has spent nearly $600 billion over the past 10 years putting combat forces into Afghanistan. Now itís going to cost an additional $5.7 billion over the next year or two just to transfer or return most of the troops and equipment we shipped into that country, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.

~snip~

As I list the new expenses, consider who is going to pay for all this and when. Congress and President Obama are negotiating over increasing revenue and cutting spending, but the billions in Afghan withdrawal costs cannot be reduced and must be paid. Their payment will be considered next month when Congress faces an increase to the debt limit.

Meanwhile, the Defense Department estimates that the military services have more than 750,000 major items worth more than $36 billion in Afghanistan, including about 50,000 vehicles and more than 90,000 shipping containers of materiel, according to the GAO report.

In fiscal 2011, the U.S. Transportation Command shipped 268,000 tons of supplies ó more than 42,000 containers ó into Afghanistan via its northern surface routes, which involve truck and rail routing through European and Central Asian countries. Those supply routes were developed after truck convoys from Pakistan were halted in November 2011 in response to the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

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