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article imageAfghan President needs financial, military help until 2024

By Andrew Moran     Dec 8, 2009 in World
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday that his country will not be able to pay for their own army until 2024, which pegs the question: How much is the world willing to spend?
No one really knows when the war in Afghanistan will come to an end. United States President Barack Obama announced during his speech in West Point, New York one week ago that troops will begin a phased withdrawal from Afghanistan in July 2011 but many US administration and military officials have said that it may or may not happen, such as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
On Tuesday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said at a joint news conference with Gates, according to the New York Times, that his country will not be able to pay for their military and security until at least 2024. Karzai is depending on American and NATO financing long-term.
“We hope that the international community, in particular the U.S., as our first ally, helps us reach the ability -- in terms of economic ability as well -- to sustain a force that can protect Afghanistan with the right numbers and the right equipment.”
He did assure, however, that Afghanistan is looking forward to taking the responsibility of their own domestic issues but reiterated “that it will not be for another 15 years.”
ABC News reports that Karzai has made similar statements in the past, such as when he hoped that the Afghan army would take over security within five years. Gates concurred with the timeline.
Gates said, according to Voice of America News, “I think that there is a realism on our part that it will be some time before Afghanistan is able to sustain its security forces entirely on its own. And whether that is 15 or 20 years, we will hope for accelerated economic development in Afghanistan.”
President Obama is trying to convince Americans, the international community and Afghans that American and NATO forces will not leave the region until Afghan combat forces are armed and ready.
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