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US Assistance to Afghanistan September 3, 2009

Posted by Rebecca Williams in Analysis.

Suicide bombers, corrupt officials, voter fraud, American soldiers killed, large numbers of civilian contractors working for the Pentagon, and a resurgent Taliban.  This was last week’s news on Afghanistan.  With such bleak reports, it’s no wonder that George Will and others are calling for the withdrawal of US troops.  US strategy, however, is not gearing down and funding trends suggest that Afghanistan is growing in importance.

Major combat in Afghanistan began nearly eight years ago in October 2001, and US strategy has centered on preventing Afghanistan from becoming a safe-haven for terrorists.  A recent CRS report itemized US funding to Afghanistan, including both Defense and International Affairs accounts.  BFAD has organized these accounts into three segments: security assistance; non-security assistance; and counter-narcotics.

US Assistance to Afghanistan FY 2001-FY 2010

($ in millions)

Becky Chart

Security Assistance

As the chart demonstrates, America’s engagement in Afghanistan has been increasing as involvement in Iraq decreases.  Each year, security assistance is the largest funded section, financed almost in its entirety by DOD.  The bulk of security assistance trains the Afghan National Army, the Afghan National Police, and US-led Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs).  Some security assistance funds, however, are used for non-security measures.  For instance, the Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP) provides funding for humanitarian relief and reconstruction projects, designed to win the hearts and minds of the local population.

Non-Security Assistance

Non-security assistance, run by civilian agencies, encompasses a wide array of initiatives, including good governance programs, development projects, election support, economic growth measures, and agriculture/ food-aid programs.  State operations and embassy construction is included in this section, which comprised 30 percent of non-security assistance in FY 2009.


Counter-narcotics is the smallest piece, and includes DOD counter-narcotics funding and State’s International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE) program, which focuses on alternative livelihoods, eradication and interdiction efforts.



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