President Obama’s Afghanistan speech revealed that he wants to keep United States troops stationed in the country. However, a partial withdrawal will continue as originally planned.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, even though President Barack Obama made a special trip, Afghanistan president Karzai refused to meet with the US leader in Bagram. The cost of the Afghanistan war continues to require tens of billions of dollars per year, but over the long term the final cost could be much higher:
“[A]n additional $18 billion is being promised currently and it’s possible that another $6 to $10 billion will be spent each year for years to come…. But how much will the Iraq and Afghanistan War cost in the long run? Last year, Harvard researchers considered that very question and they believe the long term cost will be $4 to $6 trillion. According to Linda J. Bilme, the cost of both wars was around $2 trillion already but the biggest cost will be providing ongoing medical care and disability benefits for America’s veterans.”
As it turns out, Obama’s Afghanistan speech was given during a surprise visit where the President discussed reducing amount of US troops in Afghanistan and winding down combat missions. According to Obama, Afghanistan has reached the point where Afghan security forces can take over the role that has largely been held by the US military. But Obama also says that he wants to have a continued military presence:
“America’s commitment to the people of Afghanistan will endure. After all the sacrifices we’ve made, we want to preserve the gains that you have helped to win and we’re going to make sure that Afghanistan can never again, ever, be used again to launch an attack against our country. For many of you, this will be your last tour in Afghanistan. America’s war in Afghanistan will come to a responsible end.”
But the end of the Afghanistan war will only come to some of the 32,800 US troops still stationed in the war torn country. The Afghanistan withdrawal will start in the coming months but President Obama wants to keep around 10,000 US troops stationed there assuming that the Afghan government signs the bilateral security agreement which allows the United States to keep some forces within the country while helping training Afghan security forces.
It’s possible that these plans may be in jeopardy since Karzai previously refused to sign a bilateral security agreement and, as mentioned before, Karzai refused to meet with Obama. Regardless, Afghanistan is currently holding presidential elections so a new Afghan president may choose differently. Either way, financially the United States has committed $15 billion in 2014 to reconstruction efforts, which amounts to 75 percent of Afghanistan’s GDP.
[Image via National Geographic]