Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin is warning the Obama administration and the Afghan government that Congress may cut off security assistance to the war-torn nation after U.S. troops leave by 2014.
The regime of Afghan President Hamid Karzai is “reaching beyond what is realistic” in asking the United States to provide $1 billion a year for security, the Michigan Democrat told The Hill
The Defense Department has said Afghanistan’s military will need as much as $5 billion a year to defend against the Taliban and other enemies after U.S. forces depart.
Congress isn’t so eager to shell out big bucks to Afghanistan, given our problems at home, especially when some of the aid seems to be used improperly, Levin said. He said he favors a “robust commitment” to the Afghan forces, but only “if it will make a difference.”
Karzai’s requests are excessive, Levin said: “He is asking for something no president, or presidential nominee for that matter, can guarantee. This is not a dictatorship.”
A Republican House staffer told The Hill Congress is concerned about the Afghan military’s ability to maintain stability after the United States leaves. But the solution “isn’t a guaranteed funding stream,” the staffer said.
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