More US Aid For Afghan Forces On The Cards

Kabul: In order to compensate for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, there are reports that the US is likely to pour in more aid for the Afghan forces on ground to help combat the situation and absence of US troops.

US President Joe Biden on Friday revealed his proposed $715 billion defense budget for fiscal year 2022, including $3.3 billion for Afghan forces, which $300 million more than what Afghanistan had been given last year. The increased aid, if approved by the Congress, can help cover equipment and training requirements, as well as infrastructure, for the 352,000 members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.

“We believe that given that we’re pulling out of Afghanistan, we need to provide some additional security support for the forces there,” Anne McAndrew, the Pentagon’s acting Under Secretary of Defense and Chief Financial Officer, said.

Military planners are also requesting .
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9 billion to cover so-called “direct war costs” in Afghanistan, about a $4 billion reduction from the previous year. McAndrew said some of that money will help cover residual expenses from the current withdrawal from Afghanistan as well as help pay for “an over-the-horizon capability outside Afghanistan.”

In addition to the military aid, Afghanistan could also be getting more funding from the US State Department. The State Department on Friday said its proposed financial year 2022 budget includes $360 million for Afghanistan — an increase of $34 million — to help combat terrorism, counter the narcotics trade and protect rights for women. In fact, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, has said that Taliban officials have assured him they “seek normalcy. “They have said to me that their views have evolved. Afghan women have rights, including political participation, education, and work.”

Meanwhile, President Biden thanked members of the military at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia on Friday during a speech marking the administration’s efforts to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. “No other war have you gone in, served, and got back up again and again and again. You are the backbone of this country,” the president said, noting that many troops did multiple tours during the war in Afghanistan.

On Friday, Biden said that US troops achieved the goal of deployment in Afghanistan, adding that threats from al Qaeda and ISIS are greater in other regions of the world. “You never gave up until we delivered justice to Osama bin Laden,” the president said.

Biden also said he keeps a list of service members who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. His late son Beau Biden served in the Iraq War and died of brain cancer following his return. “Our experience is a fraction of what so many of you and your families have gone through,” Biden said.

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