Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Assistant Secretary of Defense Randall Schriver on Tuesday revealed that the Pentagon expects the cost of the Afghan War in 2018 to come to $45 billion.
This obviously is subject to change, in the face of more probable escalations. The cost includes $13 billion in direct cost for US troops already committed, $5 billion to prop up Afghanistan’s own struggling military, and other funding for logistics, aid projects, and other assorted expenses.
That’s a lot of money to throw at the war in its 16th year, and there is a lot of questioning of the merits among senators of both parties, concerned that yet another doubling down on a war long since lost may not be the most prudent of courses.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) expressed concern that there is no clear path to end the conflict, while Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said there was no military solution to be had, and billions to the Afghan military are particularly wasted since they still, 16 years in, are unable to defend themselves.
The war has been going poorly, by all accountings. This includes Pentagon metrics, though getting them to release such data is getting harder and harder, likely to keep Congress from drawing the conclusion many already have, that the money is a waste.