Afghan Troops Cost U.S. Taxpayers Money (Duh)

Perhaps as tax day rolls around, you’d like to know where some of your money is going! To train and equip Afghan soldiers, is one place (but not single mothers in this country, OF COURSE NOT). Behold some facts and figures from this seemingly straightforward but actually incredibly confusing article in The Atlantic:

Estimated number of Afghan forces by end of 2012: 352,000

Cost of stationing a U.S. troop in Afghanistan for a year: $1 million

Cost of “training and fielding” an Afghan police officer for a year: $30,000

Amount of that cost that goes to officer’s annual salary: $1,872

Is $1,872 a living wage for a soldier in a Afghanistan: I couldn’t figure this out, at all. E tu?

Cost of “training and fielding” an Afghan soldier for a year: $46,000

Amount of that cost that goes to officer’s annual salary: not disclosed

Included in these numbers: “ … building new bases, maintaining existing ones, and moving gas, fuel and other supplies across a large country with few paved or safe roads …”

Amount Afghan government spends “equipping” each soldier per year: $14,336

Included in that number: “… purchasing aircraft, vehicles, weapons, body armor and other equipment.”

Amount Afghan government spends “training” each soldier per year: $4,965

Why are there so many numbers in this report and why aren’t they more clear: I DON’T KNOW

Oh, maybe the “training” and “equipping” numbers add up to the “training and fielding” numbers from earlier in the article: Nope.

Kind of hilarious sentence that introduces statistics of Afghan soldier deaths and presumably meant to make us less indignant at the amount of money we are spending on Afghan troops: “To be fair, Afghan troops are paying other, grimmer costs that far exceed those of their U.S. allies.”

Amount that these numbers are making my head heart: A moderate amount

Quote from Independence Day that comes to mind: “You don’t actually think they spend $20,000 on a hammer, $30,000 on a toilet seat do you?”

Photo credit: flickr/ puuikibeach

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