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West to pay Afghan military $4 bn a year: Karzai

Karzai`s Western allies in the war against Taliban insurgents want to avoid the country descending into civil war after they leave.



Kabul: The international community will
subsidise Afghan security forces by more than USD 4 billion a
year for a decade after US-led combat forces leave Afghanistan
in 2014, President Hamid Karzai said on Thursday.

Western officials said that no final agreement had
been reached.

But Karzai told a graduation ceremony at a military
academy in Kabul: "It`s set that post 2014, for the next 10
years until 2024 the international community, with the US in
the lead and followed by Europe and other countries, will pay
Afghanistan security forces USD 4.1 billion annually."

It would cover both the army and "other armed forces", he
said, adding: "We agree and thank them."

Karzai`s Western allies in the war against Taliban
insurgents want to avoid the country descending into civil war
after they leave.

But the United States recently circulated a proposal to
cut Afghan forces from a targeted 352,000 in 2014 to 230,000
after NATO combat troops leave, and the USD 4.1 billion figure
is a fraction of current Western spending on the war.

Questions remain over the military funding deal, said
Karzai, with Kabul wanting to be able to spend the money on
requirements other than salaries, such as weapons purchases.

"Afghanistan will be able to pay the salaries itself one
day... but Afghanistan needs radar, air defence systems,
warplanes, transport planes, helicopters and other equipments
that improve the defence system," he said.

"If NATO or America will not give us planes, will they
prevent us using this money to buy planes for our air force
from other countries? If we were to buy planes from India or
Russia or Iran or Pakistan or Ukraine, will our (forces`)
salaries still be paid from the NATO money?"

A Western official said that a final agreement on funding
had yet to be reached, describing the USD 4.1 billion figure
as an "initial assessment by the international community and
the Afghan government of the future requirement for the
long-term funding of the Afghan National Security Force"

PTI

From Zee News

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