Friday, 3 February 2012

NATO Looking for Help to Fund Afghan Security Forces

One topic that was raised at the Defence Ministers gathering this week was future funding of the Afghan National Security Forces beyond 2014. This is absolutely vital as the Afghan government is in no position to pay the estimated $6 billion per year necessary to equip, train and deploy their police and army units.

By 2014 it is planned to have 350,000 ANSF personnel in place, although some think this is too many. For example, French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet told journalists that "A reasonable number would be 230,000." In contrast, the Taliban are thought to number in the region of 20,000 fighters, although that number could certainly increase quickly.

NATO Secretary General told the press that NATO was appealing to the entire international community to help secure the future of Afghanistan by contributing to the bill, and when pressed if he meant China and Russia, as well as others, replied:
“It’s a call on the whole of the international community to contribute to financing the Afghan security forces because I think it is also in the interest of countries in the region to see a stable and secure Afghanistan.”
This is certainly something NATO needs to get right, and in comparison with the bills that they are paying to keep combat forces in country, $6 billion per year spread between all NATO members is very little. NATO Monitor is having trouble figuring out why China and Russia would find it in their strategic interest to help NATO out with this, especially Russia since NATO is so unresponsive to their concerns on BMD and CFE.

(Read more here and here, and watch the press conference here.)

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