December 9th, 2009
10:08 AM ET

Taliban pay vs. Afghan forces pay

Two of the biggest goals for U.S. forces in Afghanistan are building up Afghan security forces and convincing Taliban members to lay down their arms. It seems some of both goals can be accomplished with some cash.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who arrived for an unannounced trip to Afghanistan on Tuesday, said money is a key reason why the Afghans might be having recruiting and retention problems with its security forces.

"One of the eye openers for us was learning that the Taliban, for the most part, are better paid than the Afghan Security Forces, so that's something that we and the Afghans have already taken steps to correct," the DOD chief said.  "They're raising the pay of the police and they're putting in place a number of additional incentives and bonuses and so on for the army in terms of combat pay and various things like that so that clearly will help. I think, frankly, that's the biggest obstacle."

So how much money do you get if you fight for the Taliban?

Around $300, according to Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the senior NATO and U.S. forces commander in Afghanistan.

"There is no set pay scale, but by our intelligence, they are paying the equivalent of about $300 a month and that is higher than we are paying Afghan army or police," McChrystal told the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he testified on Tuesday.

So the U.S. is minding the gap, if you will, and along with the Afghan government, raising the pay for Afghan troops. (Watch inside the Afghan recruitment process from CNN's Atia Abawi)

"In coordination with the Afghan government, we just almost doubled Afghan army and police training [pay]. It is in parity now. It is less than $300 a month but it's much closer," he told the committee.

"Almost doubling" indicates prior pay was in the neighborhood of $150 a month. It's no surprise then that the Afghan Security Forces have suffered from corruption charges and desertion– especially in the face of higher Taliban pay.

The higher pay could also help encourage lower level Taliban to instead lay down their weapons and perhaps join Afghan security forces.

"Obviously, you have to make it more attractive for individuals to serve on the side of the government rather than take up with the Taliban. Wages have to encourage," said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

Neither the Afghan government nor ISAF pays fighters to come off the field, according to an official with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) office who spoke to the Afghanistan Crossroads blog on background.

And the ISAF official explained that if fighters choose to turn themselves over to the Afghan National Security Forces, their government will try to give them jobs. The official reiterated that "it's all Afghan-led."

The U.S. and Afghanistan are looking to increase the Afghan security force of police and military to 300,000 strong by July 2011 from its current level of approximately 190,000. But Afghanistan, with its struggling economy, will need help to pay for that force with U.S. and international assistance for the next 10 to 15 years, President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday.

"Afghanistan will not be able to sustain a force of that nature and capability with its own resources." Karzai said.

Related: McChrystal before Congress
Related: Barbara Starr on Gates in Afghanistan

soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Passer-by

    It is certainly interesting for me to read this post. Thanks for it. I like such themes and everything connected to this matter. I definitely want to read more soon.

    Truly yours

    February 15, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Steve

    Pay $600 bucks and do airiel spraying of the opium fields if you're serious about winning the war.

    December 14, 2009 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. U.S ARMY TANKER

    1. This isnt the first time america has dropped a large sum of money on improving security for a wounded country. We foot the bill to for a few years to pay the SON'S OF IRAQ, or you all forget that? I have worked with SOI, FP, IP, and IA out of them all the Iraqi Army is by far the most superior of the 4. But guess who gave them millions of hummves and even abrams tanks and m-16's. The SOI where former sunni insurgents who laid down their weapons and started manning checkpoints in neighborhoods all over baghdad and iraq and like I said before we payed them up until about 10 months ago. I know because I have been in baghdad through it all. And I have to say that the us won what once was thought to be a war we couldnt win. So if paying the afghani security forces a extra $150 a month or even $200 a month means it will be a safer afghanistan for me when I get there or maybe mean that I dont have to go there then by all means pay them please so we can show the world that we arent the infadels that most people outside of the western hemisphere think we are!!

    December 10, 2009 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. John

    "Domenic'

    I should ask where your brain is. Of course it is more cost effecient to replace our troops with Afgans. Unfortunately that process can't just happen over night. It will take years to properly train Afghan forces to replace our own, and that is what we have been working on over there for a while now. Until the day where we have trained enough Afghans to take over we will have to keep our troops there to keep the fight going. Also, as a member of the military, the overwhelming majority of us believe that what we are doing there is right and we need to stick it out to the end. Not just for Afghanistan but also for the safety and security of our nation.

    Legalizing opium in Afghanistan would be the dumbest thing ever. It would give the druglords there free reign to grow and ship all of their product, and guess where most of that product would end up! Here on the streets of the US. I don't think any of us really want that.

    December 9, 2009 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. Norm

    Everyone here is so knowledgable about what we should be doing and why. Did it ever occur to anyone that none of us has any idea what's REALLY going on behind the scenes over there? If you think you can trust your government and (OMG) the media, you surely live in some kind of fairy tale world. "The US will pay Afghan forces more each month".
    That's a good one. Where do you think that extra tax money is really going to go?
    This war is right up there with global warming when it comes to all time, mass public deceptions. Just beneath the "bail outs" recently committed against the American tax payer. Heck...the war in Iraq worked so well and was so profitable for certain individuals, why not continue the scam with this "war". People, stop believing everything the banking industry run government tells you and pays the media to print. Your tax dollars are going into secret coffers that have nothing less than global domination as their prime objective.
    Shear the sheep and send them back to their mindless grazing.

    December 9, 2009 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  6. Eric

    #1) Burn the poppies.
    #2) Pay the Afghan's three times as much. (budget what?)
    #3) Offer huge monetary compensation for bringing in Taliban.

    All this timed correctly with the influx of US troops to clean up the Taliban = WIN

    Then we can remove our troops, let the Afghans deal with Afghanistan... and we can deal with our own problems on our own soil. It's not like we're lacking in personal issues...

    December 9, 2009 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. ekricket

    I thought we were trying to help the Afghan nation become independent. This makes it appear that what is really happening is that the US and the Taliban are at war, and we have simply contracted out to the Afghanistan nation to supply the battleground and fighters.

    In essence, Afghanistan says that they will allow the war to be fought on their land if we pay to clean up the mess over the next 15 years or so, and the armies simply switch sides depending on who is paying more at the moment. Their beliefs don’t figure into it, and it is just a job to feed their families with apparently. I am surprised they ever kill anyone – most times they are probably shooting over each others heads, knowing that their opposition is just government paid workers, same as them.

    California or New Mexico should get in on this, offer the world a desert battlefield to settle their greivances on, and offer unemployed people a job fighting. They would probably all get filled by illegal immigrants.

    December 9, 2009 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. ABI

    i meant money not morning, sorry for the mistake

    December 9, 2009 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  9. Amy

    The strength, and economic security of any country is directly related to the strength and economic security of the middle class – this is a fact. The more we pay soldiers that fight on the Afghan army, the more economically sound the middle class will become – hence the more happy, secure, and sound the country will become. Most of these people have lived lives of poverty with nothing to lose. The more we give them to fight for (the more we give them to lose) -the more they will stand up for what they have against the Taliban. People often say that in the revolutionary war, Americans fought for principle alone - I disagree.. people had land, had money from that land, and fought to preserve it and prevent it from going oversees to governments unseen. The Afghan people are no different – if you give them a reason to stand up - they will. But how can you ask someone to stand up and possibly die – for nothing but principle alone and no economic gain.. people have families to think about.

    December 9, 2009 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. Peter

    $108,000,000, in terms of international conflict, is peanuts. If a standing army that is controlling much of Pakistan and Afghanistan can't raise $108 mil easily, they have a major corruption problem. The US has over 100,000 soldiers there, the average enlisted guy getting around 45 or 50k in total benefits, and the average officer getting 80-100k in total benefits... crunch those numbers if ya wanna see what a real payroll looks like.

    December 9, 2009 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. ABI

    i think if an afgan soldier collects 3600 dollars a year, the same thing is applicable to american soldier since the world is using the law of equality- EVERYBODY IS BORN EQUALLY. The morning that is spent for an america soldier should be $3600 a year too.

    December 9, 2009 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  12. mitch cnn

    How about instead of raising the pay to ALMOST be equivalent to what the Taliban pay, we pay MORE than the Taliban?!! $350 or $400 a month would seem like a very worth while investment.

    December 9, 2009 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jorge

    There is something wrong with this news, because it doesn't make sense. First if money was the reason for risking one's life, either amount doesn't amount to a hill of beans. And if the news is right on amounts being paid by the Taliban, why the article doesn't cover how much a suicide bomber gets. Another issue that derails the story. Being Afgghanistan the third poorest country in the world and having that Osama Bin Laden has 25 million for his head, dead or alive, and nobody, but nobody has betrayed him, it stands to reason that money maybe part of the war, but it's obvious by the reasons stated that that "fake" news is missing something: The truth. Here you put a thousand on somebody's head and he/she is caught the next hour. The problem is that we see the Afghanis with our greedy eyes and we can't understand why a country so poor, nobody is willing to claim 25 millions. What America doesn't understand is that for Muslims, Arabs Osama is a hero and they care more for him and his well-being than money. For a materialistic society where money talks, it's hard to comprehend. Then again, it's hard to rat on a rich guy who used his money to build schools, hospitals and help the poor.

    December 9, 2009 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. John

    One of the incentives of not joining the Taliban is that your body doesn't explode into thousands of pieces when you are hit with a coalition missile.

    December 9, 2009 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. IRON MIKE

    YOUR OIL DOLLARS AT WORK

    December 9, 2009 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  16. sam

    My question is WHERE IS THE TALIBAN GETTING ALL THIS MONEY FROM? If they had say 30000 troops on the ground this means hey are paying 9,000,000 a month for payroll..!! times 12 months that is 108,000,000 annual just for payroll. Someone big is financing these guys.

    December 9, 2009 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  17. varun

    soo basically, they are developing a story to convince americans that it is better to pay afghan forces using american tax payers money? as it will cost arund $600-700 (my approx).. Americans simply cannon win the war by smart weaponry, highly trained forces..

    Let me ask how you can control 14-15 years old boy emotion when his dad, mother and sister shot by american forces in front of his eyes??.. These kids are more influential and with there hatred they can convince others.... can american convince him??

    To me this war is war between islamic ideology , philosphy against american mordern warfare equipments.

    People in countries like pakistan , arab, iran, iraq , india, syria, china, jordan, burma, nepal are very strong emotionally developed.

    American will never win war .. then can suppress it but they will fail to control bomb attacks,

    American don't even know what they are fighiting for??.. if they want to win war .. they have to dismantle pakistan.. no matter what.. pakistan is root of all causes.. and iraq and afghanista are branches of terrorism network.. and once cut it will grown again and cycle will continue..

    December 9, 2009 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  18. KenP

    So "loyalty" can be purchased, what a awful world we live in. Also, the Afghan ranks must be filled with spies drawing pay from both sides. what a mess. No wonder wars never end with these very thinly veiled dividing lines. Fight wars the old fashion way and people will want them to turn them off. Bomb everything with the most powerful weapon you got until the other side can't make war, or the people get so fed up that they hand you their leaders themselves. Sensitivity has no place in war. Just look at WWII.

    December 9, 2009 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  19. John

    What U.S need to do now is increase army and terminate all Al-Quieda followers. If they don't put an end to this, it will never end. Similar to Vietnam War, you either choose between the U.S or the Taliban. With the situations like this, no wonder these people are following the Taliban.

    December 9, 2009 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  20. mike

    Legalize Heroin. Are you kidding me. I think the Afghans deserve more from us than legalizing a well known lethal drug within their country. Would you want heroin to be legalized in the U.S.

    December 9, 2009 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  21. g.r.r.

    Actually, we should be paying above Taliban AND taking some other actions. In particular, we should be working with locals to get them going on their own businesses. While we speak against nation building, if we do not do at least some limited form of it, this will fail. We NEED to help these ppl, so that they will help themselves as well.

    December 9, 2009 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  22. Mike Ali

    The reason we lost all of the post WW2 wars Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon barrack massacre, Iraq and now Afghanistan is because we were the invaders .What would you all do if a foreign army lands on our shores? It is that simple. Yes I know Al Qaeda attacked, but for half a century before Sept.11. We relentlessly attacked the Arabs indirectly. With our support, Israel devastated the Palestinians, not to mention our destruction and blockade of the Iraqi , which caused a million and half Iraqi deaths. This was going on for decades before Sept. 11. Our onslaught of Muslims continues, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in Palestine, and as long as it does, we will continue to pay a heavy toll. CIA gave birth to Alqaeda and our continued brutality we incubate more terror organizations.

    December 9, 2009 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  23. Brian

    $300/mo for a goal of 300k troops. That's $1BB a year for Afghani troop pay, compared to $27BB spent in Afghanistan in 2007. I expect the Taliban to increase their pay to be competitive with US compensation. It seems like if we enter a spending war with the Taliban for troop compensation, it is an easy win for the US. It will bankrupt the Taliban, just like we did to the Soviets in the Cold War. At the same time, you provide many legitimate jobs for Afghanis which will help to stabilize their economy. This could be cheaper for the US in the long run, as our troops certainly earn more than $300/mo, not to mention logistics for overseas support. If 10 Afghanis replace 1 American, I am guessing we save money.

    December 9, 2009 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  24. Michael

    Here's a secret Your Gov't doesn't want you to know. The main funds for the Taliban is the protection money paid to them to NOT attack NGO"s projects in Afganistan. It's not the Gov't paying those bribes, it's the Charities.

    December 9, 2009 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  25. domenic

    I heard that it costs the US about $1,000,000.00 per year to keep one US soldier in the war. If we paid the security forces $4,000/yr, we could pull out one US soldier and pay 250 Afghan security forces. If we pull out only 1000 US soldiers, we could pay for 250,000 security forces! This is not rocket science! Where are the brains in the armed forces?

    December 9, 2009 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  26. Sean Kangal

    Dont pay a Taliban to fight for you or not fight at all, he will take your money then turn around and cut your throat.

    Remember the recent case where a muslim preferred to kill his military people than to go against his muslim beliefs.

    December 9, 2009 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  27. nelson bird

    just git over the fighting and go home

    December 9, 2009 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  28. Jdoggydiggy

    I think that the Taliban shouldnt be getting payed as much as they are but we cant control what they do the government should start to help their army.

    December 9, 2009 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  29. Sean Kangal

    When will the world understand that there's a war between ISLAM and the rest of the world and NOT the other way around.

    When will the WEST, led by AMERICA, understand that there's a war between ISLAM and the West and NOT the other way around.

    The source of this is a clear teaching of the Koran to rule the world and subject every infidel/unbeliever to the teachings of the Koran and Sharia rule.

    The koranic teaching about the "the CAUSE OF ALLAH" is the driving force for muslims to be recruited so easily as MUJAHIDS or Islamic warriors.

    This is a LONG CONTINUOUS fight and new mujahids are recruited every day in islamic countries to replace ones who have died.

    What makes a muslim's decision so every easy to be recruited is found in the koranic promise/guarantee that upon death /martyrdom they will be in PARADISE with virgins and all kinds of foods etc

    In the Koran, there are only 2 guarantees for a muslim to Paradise. One is MARTYRDOM and the other is DYING DURING RAMADAN, the islamic holy month. All other muslims hang in doubt just hoping they will make it to paradise.

    So martyrdom is a preferred and popular choice.

    Americans and the West MUST know that a Muslim's first allegiance IS NOT to their country of residence but to the Koran and the teachings of Muhammad.

    Do not be fooled by their outward talk.Publicly they may denounce the terrorists but quietly and inwardly they support their cause.

    Very few, extremely few muslims will stand up against their mujahid brothers because they will be ridiculed and branded as not true muslims.

    Wake up America!!! Wake up West!!! Wake up world!!!

    Islam's war with the world is WORLD WAR 3 !!!

    December 9, 2009 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  30. mike

    Somehow I thought the Taliban was fighting for their beliefs. Willing to die for what they believe in. Now all they want is money? That is easy. Pull everyone out and give them a check. Then what will they do? Spend the money and go back to what they have been doing since the sandal was invented. Kill. There is no winning this war. Let them have their sand and poppies.

    December 9, 2009 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  31. John

    They don't care about money. All they care about is God. Think about it, in every movies and news that talked about terrorists, these terrorists were viewed highly educated and religious. Those who aren't educated in this scenerio, I bet their loves ones are in danger which is why they are force to work for the taliban.

    December 9, 2009 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  32. creekfish

    Gee that would leave the Opium profits up for grabs! After all that does seem to be what everyone is denying! A 90 percent world production zone and every so often someone raids a field to make it look good yet the blood continues to be shed over a multibillion dollar drug market. All the fields could have been napalmed a decade ago, but nooo the only economy for the region would leave to many without their livelihoods. The emphasis here is on ‘hoods’ that are fat and rich and whose names should be disclosed to the world so everyone knows who they are and how they collect their profits. We all know the farmland land would support other stable economical enterprises and keep the people in healthy businesses, but once again, noooo there is too much money being taken from top people who farm the resident people of Afghanistan to get them to produce opium while the fat rich drug czars of the world wage their 'turf drug wars' at the expense of taxpayers worldwide.

    December 9, 2009 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  33. Prof Ramewh Manghirmalani

    t was no snap decision that led President Barack Obama to announce he will deploy an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan next year. As anyone who’s been following the news is aware, the president took months to formulate his Afghan strategy. Some critics contend he took too long.

    No one should begrudge Obama the time to carefully analyze the situation in that region and the options available to him. Afghanistan is a troublesome region that had not suffered a military defeat since Genghis Khan’s Mongols devastated the region in 1219 — 800 years before U.S. troops arrived there.

    Unfortunately, we’re not convinced that the path Obama has chosen out of Afghanistan is the best one, for a number of reasons.

    First, we do not see a clearly defined and attainable objective in U.S. involvment in Afghanistan. In the spirit of the Powell Doctornie, what would constitute a “win” in Afghanistan? And with such a win, should it happen, what national interest would be served? In the end, is there a clearly defined exit strategy?

    Second, while the latest troop increase is called a “surge,” it is far different than the surge that sent additional troops to Iraq in 2007 and helped quell the violence in that war-torn country. Whether that fragile peace lasts is still an open question, but this November was the least bloody month in Iraq — both in civilian deaths and U.S. troop casualties — since the war began in 2003.

    A major difference between Iraq and Afghanistan is that Iraq is a substantially urbanized nation, even in areas outside the Baghdad capital. U.S. troops involved in the surge there saw heavy combat in multiple cities, but they could determine where enemy forces were, attack them and drive them out of an area. Then, working with increasingly better-trained Iraqi forces, they could hold the areas they won, forcing insurgents to continuously retreat.

    In Afghanistan, outside of Kabul and to a lesser extent Kandahar, the nation is primarily rural, primitive and isolated. Push the Taliban out of one area and they retreat to the hills, then return as soon as allied forces move out, often terrorizing any villagers perceived to have helped the U.S. troops.

    In addition to boosting the number of U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan, Obama has plans to improve the training of Afghan army and police forces, so they can one day provide security for their country, much as Iraqi forces are now doing. That would be great, except that both the army and police forces have been mired in corruption for years, and individual loyalty among provincial Afghans goes first and foremost to their clan, not to some abstract notion of nation.Furthermore, Afghan support for a greater military presence by the United States and its allies seems to be slipping, even in Kabul. A news article in The Wall Street Journal Tuesday quoted both government officials and tribal leaders as questioning Obama’s surge plans.As a result, unlike in Iraq, the United States cannot count on broad support from local groups to help locate and fight the enemy. More and more people in Afghanistan view U.S. troops as occupiers, not rescuers, the Journal article said.

    Obama faces another obstacle to his plans — growing opposition among liberal Democrats and a few Republicans in Congress to the cost of fighting in Afghanistan. That coincides with polls showing waning public support for our continued presence in Afghanistan.

    Those obstacles most likely could be overcome if the president articulated clear objectives for spending more taxpayer money and putting more U.S. military personnel in danger in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the goals appear as mushy as President Bush’s were after the Iraq war had dragged on a few years.

    White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said this week the goal is to “transfer the responsibility” to Afghanistan’s security forces as they meet unspecified political and civilian benchmarks. That’s not clear enough.

    Rather than put more Americans in harm’s way in a region where foreign armies have repeatedly failed and building a true Afghan democracy is all but impossible, Obama should boost U.S. intelligence in the region, and have a rapid strike force prepared to go in and destroy any potential terrorist training camps, headquarters or other sound threats.

    December 9, 2009 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  34. Bill from GA

    Here's an idea: Let's not worry about 'rescuing' Afghanistan. Let's find the SOB's that attacked us, and as many of their cohorts, blast em into obliviom, and get out.

    When so much of the world hates us, we can't make America safe by trying to insure that any one group can't hurt us, but we should punish them when they do. That's generally how American Justice works.

    December 9, 2009 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  35. Pierre Forget

    50 years ago, in the Province of Quebec, you could bribe a provincial police with $20 to save a speeding ticket. Why? Because they had a very small pay check and needed some extras to feed their family.

    Try the same trick today and you'll end up in jail within a few minutes! Why? Because they now have a decent pay and good training. And they do a good job.

    Hope they eventually get the same in Afghanistan. There is a major difference in culture between Afghanis and us, and we need to understand that. It won't be done overnight. They still live in the middle age and they need to come together as a nation.

    And corruption is not an exclusive thing from Afghanistan. Just look around and you will find many examples here in Canada and US. As for drugs, it there would be no consumer, there wouldn't be a market...

    December 9, 2009 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  36. Dustin

    Bringing Afghan National Army (ANA) troops to the U.S. would be INCREDIBLY expensive. The cost of the flights alone would be insurmountable. Imagine transporting the same number of personnel we currently deploy, except its done for 3 months instead of a year. This high rate of turnover would be a logistical nightmare. Also, do you really want someone with potential Taliban ties being released in the U.S. without background checks? These guys don't exactly walk around with social security cards and photo IDs.

    Second, you can't destroy the poppy fields and expect to win a counter-insurgency fight. If you burn down a farmer's only source of income, are you REALLY going to be surprised when you run over a mine/IED near his house later on? If so, you've got a lot to learn.

    Finally, contrary to popular belief, this place is NOT the place where "empires come to die." If it was, why would kids still learn names like "Alexander the Great" or "Ghengis Khan", and why was the Soviet Union so successful until American intervention? This is a multi-national force and no one seems to realize that American favor is actually improving world-wide because of the dedication we are showing.

    December 9, 2009 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  37. Sito

    How damp are Afghan admin including the West are, they are getting lesson from Taliban in renumeration and stuff. It is really rediculous, they are nt learing at all. Taliban always ahead of the game and out smarting all the so called well-educated bunches.
    Shame you all who act on be half of me .

    December 9, 2009 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  38. Jay

    It doesn't matter who we pay. We need to cut off the head of Al Qaeda to stop this war. Osama bin Laden is the source of all that is bad. We just need to finish what we started in 2001. I am in support of what ever we need to do to finish this. I have been there and we need to change the Rules of Engagement to finish this war. We need to stop being so political and start taking care of business and get dirty.

    Active Duty Navy

    December 9, 2009 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  39. mike bryan

    do you really think if a taliban swithches sides just for a little more money that you have recruited yourself a loyal employee who shares your "mission statement". is this really our governments plan. sounds desperate. what the american public realizes after watching this for so long is that these people are incapable of the level of competency and responsibility required to field an effective government.our government must know this too. when will they admit it and come up with a realistic plan to deal with this mess.

    December 9, 2009 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  40. Bob Cortese

    We are paying $1,000,000 for every American soldier in Afghanistan, at $300 per head per month that's only $3,600 a year for an Afghan national to do the same job. Everyone is happy. Lets double their pay to $7,200 a year and wipe out the Taliban financially just like we did with Russia. They will not be able to afford to fight or they will need to cut their forces in half. Either way we win, they have a difficult financial issue to deal with and our young men and women can come home.

    Alternative: Give each of our soldiers $14,400 every year to hire their own personnel two man Afghan security force. Why should only the diplomats’ get contract security forces.

    Oh yea contract out the job to Blackwater, they will do a better job then our bureaucrats at setting up an Afghan security force.

    December 9, 2009 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  41. George

    I'm glad this is getting attention, but I worry as other posters here that it may be too little too late. There are other infrastructure developments that we absolutely have to make if we are to succeed in Afghanistan. These are things we should have done in 1989 after Charlie Wilson orchestrated USSR's failure there.

    We need to show the people that they can have a better life if they stop supporting the Taliban – people living there are the same as us. They want stability, security and freedom from violence and oppression. Our military effort cannot do this sustainably. Our top priority should be now to help the Afghanis build schools, hospitals/clinics and roads. Only education of the populace will be able to really put a dent in the influence of religious fundamentalism. We also have to train teachers, nurses and doctors to staff these locations.

    Just these little things will do wanders in the attitude the country has towards the West. I mean look at what happened with Germany after WW2? Massive rebuilding efforts by the Allied countries – and look at where Germany is today. We can do the same in Afghanistan – we just need to get out of the Military >>> everything else mentality.

    "The views expressed here are mine and do not reflect the official opinion of my employer or the organization through which the Internet was accessed."

    December 9, 2009 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  42. Mel Owen

    Why not bring leading Afganistan military to the U.S. and train them with our troops instead of our troups going to Afganistan to train them? The cost would be much less and the danger to our troups removed. Think of the savings in transportation and the use of our military hardware alone. I'm sure the possibility of the Afganistans leaving the training area for whatever purpose can be controlled.

    December 9, 2009 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  43. Cherrybrook

    Hello?! James?! Come in please. Are you there?

    1. Did everyone forget that the Taliban sponsored Al-Quieda presence there in Afghanistan?

    2. Do you remember the Al-Quieda training camps there (the ones which trained all the suicide bombers that have plagues numerous nations around the world)?

    3. Did you know that those training camps taught terrorists how to plan, prepare, and execute terrorist missions, including the ones on American soil?

    4. Do you recall the root meaning of the word Al-quieda? The base.

    5. Aside from the terrorists who have been kicking our butts, the Taliban also supports the growing of poppies (opium). Is this not a war that still exists in OUR American backyard?

    6. Is not the drug war in our back yard a catalyst to a whole series of other crimes commited against our people?

    7. id we forget about the attrocities the Taliban commits against their own people?

    Erradicate the Taliban = no base for Al-Quieda there.
    Erradicate the Taliban = first line of defense in the drug war.
    Erradicate the Taliban = giving the Afghans back the freedom to choose their own path.

    The alternative is to make Afganistan again a safe haven and breeding ground for terrorits who make money off of selling drugs to us while we watch any hope for Afghan women and children's future fade into oblivian.

    December 9, 2009 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  44. NV

    Some aid groups or contractors pay the Taliban "security" fees to guarantee their employees safety. However, the Taliban gets most of its money either through the drug trade or through donations from foreign supporters via the port of Karachi. The Arabian peninsula is only a few hundred miles from the Pakistani coastline and we should wonder just how much aid is coming to the Taliban by sea.

    That being said, this idea was a no-brainer in 2002 but was only implemented now. I think that this proposition is far more appropriate than simply buying off the Taliban rank and file: we should rewarding Afghan security forces directly rather than Taliban fighters. Any COIN strategy needs a dedicated national security force and this modest pay increase is an easy way to improve the situation on the ground.

    The greatest roadblock to victory in Afghanistan is the corruption of government officials. Increasing the pay of the security forces is only one step towards fighting corruption. Its unfortunate how tribalistic the Afghan people are since government officials often favor those of their own tribe over others. So when resources (including government contracts) are being allocated, government officials tend to reward these to those who are either a member of their tribe or simply to the highest bidder. Karzai needs to crackdown on such practices.

    The problem on top of this is that Karzai has decided that the best way for him to consolidate power is to ally himself with drug dealers and warlords. How can ordinary Afghans trust Karzai if senior government officials are murderous warlords and drug dealers who can act with impunity in terroizing the populace? People just don't see the justice they need for them to trust the government there.

    Please see this link for a summary and list of the cronies that Karzai has allied himself with:

    December 9, 2009 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  45. Byron

    #1: The US government doesn't end the poppy trade because the CIA is involved in order to finance their own agenda elsewhere.

    #2: if it costs the US $1 million per year per soldier in-country. then why don't we bring home our boys, pay each Afghan soldier $10,000 a year, and move on. Let hten sort it out on their own, and save the US taxpayers a bundle.

    The US government could hire the firm ManPower to do the hiring, ADP to do the payroll and benefits, AETNA for insurance, and McDonalds to feed the new Afghan army, and the deficit could be eliminated.

    Tell them they can send my Nobel Peace prize via DHL – I won't fly to NOrway as I am green.

    December 9, 2009 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  46. James McCarthy

    People don't understand that who in his right mind will spend billions of dollars from their own pocket to protect people of a different nation. There is something else that the government is hiding from the innocent American people. FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU. FOOL ME TWICE, SHAME ON ME. RISE UP, AMERICANS.

    December 9, 2009 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  47. Chris

    Yes we are paying for afghan security. No the afghan can not afford to pay for it themselves and theyt will not be able to for the forseeable future.

    Our mission in A-stan should be preventing terrorism, not installing and propping up a government.

    No, they are not the same thing.

    December 9, 2009 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  48. tom ritchie

    the entire middle east has been a dying field for western nations since time began.all their political pundits are so crooked, when they die, you can just screw them in the ground! if you shake hands with any of them, be sure to count your fingers when you get your hand back.they have been screwing western nations since the 1900's-and doing it very well i might add.
    are we that stupid, that we keep going back for more~time & time again? well, of course
    we will!
    rule #1
    there is no honor among thieves!
    rule #2
    they are all thieves!

    and that's how that works,
    tdr

    December 9, 2009 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  49. who's on first,what's on second, where' on third ?

    It is another round of unbeatable innings in good o'le Afghanistan. This poor countries economic infrastructure cannot sustain any type legitimate goverment, nor any type democractic ideals. My solution, start inticing more prosperous and adventurous westerners to relocate to the very beautiful afghanistan countryside. A place of opportunity to build both small and large business for all afghan's, and please pay them more than 50 cents a day.

    December 9, 2009 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  50. Kristen

    If cash is really the issue, why don't we (as Americans) raise some for them? Like Child International, people can pay a certain amount each month to sponsor an Afghan soldier or police officer. Pool the resources and get our folks home. I would be happy to sponsor one!!!

    December 9, 2009 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  51. Duane Horton

    I guess the Taliban will have to raise the pay of their fighters, which should not be a problem considering all the money they make from the opium trade. Maybe it's time to legalize all drugs, especially those which are found in nature (e.g., poppy, cannabis), and put the drug lords out of business. Then we can bring all the troops home, lower our taxes, and stop pissing off all the people who correctly see the USA as an imperialistic power.

    December 9, 2009 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  52. T. Regan

    It's about time. We fill in the gap and at the same time go after the drug fields which finances the Taliban. We kill two birds with one stone.

    December 9, 2009 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  53. Nadir

    Now that Karzai has stated that he needs help paying for the Afghani National Forces, maybe the United States should ask for the bribes they have been paying all the warlords back. As an Afghan-American, I want to do the right thing but Karzai is a THIEF and so are the rest of the Afghani Government. Lets tax their wealth in Dubai and that could finance the whole thing.

    My tax dollars should not be going the pockets of Karzai and his Lieutenants.

    December 9, 2009 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  54. Dale

    RE: "Why not just leagalize opium" & Why not burn the poppy fields"–
    ANSWER–As many of the news reports coming out of Afghanistan have mentioned, quite a few "taliban" have stated that they are fighting to protect thier crops,(read poppies),and there are no other crops that pay as much...(think farm subsidies,American style...what is the amount...300 Billion...is that right...but it's cheaper than the war bill) AND as to leagalizing the opium trade, it will lead to massive profits... to the civil service ,as there will have to be a HUGH system in place to administer the trade causing more ,not less , strife in America ...not to mention the obvious societal changes that would happen if such an idiotioc plan should ever take hold

    December 9, 2009 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  55. Justin

    JoAnn – Of course we pay for their security. To start, thousands of American soldiers serving in Afghanistan. We're not going to succeed with those troops alone. The larger and stronger that the Afghan security forces the sooner we can get out of there with a clear conscience.

    A very large portion of Taliban fighters just want to feed their families; it's a job for them in an impoverished country and they don't even care about the Taliban's agenda. The more alternatives, the harder it is for the enemy to recruit. That means a well paid Afghan army and a stronger economy.

    December 9, 2009 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  56. Brian D

    What ever happened to "Fighting for a cause you believe in?" Its a good thing our fore fathers didnt switch to the British side because they paid better! The War is loss, lets get out and leave the sand box to the Afghans, they obviously dont care...

    December 9, 2009 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  57. nam

    well... I think it's obvious I would rather get paid more, but in the same sense, they are religious zealots hellbent on forcing the sharia on everyone. They are a group based on their ideals and I doubt raising pay will really solve much more than taking our tax dollars.

    December 9, 2009 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  58. rob

    I have a friend who was on a Canadian PRT in Kandahar in 2005-6 who said this then... he also mentioned how the ANA appeared to sexually exploit teenage recruits (male). With all of the detainee controversey in Canada one would think the Afghans would torture and rape prisoners if they used rape in the hazing of army recruits.

    December 9, 2009 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  59. Dave

    $300 per month for 300,000 men for one year is about $1billion. Cost of Afghan war to date? It has cost measly Canada $22 Billion to date for about 2,500 soldiers.

    December 9, 2009 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  60. Ben

    JoAnn, you dubwit, US doesnt pay for Afghan security. I am amazed at the brain some of you bring to the table to discuss.

    So, if you are with the army, you get paid less, and you are not as operational. With Taliban, you are better off in both senses. Makes sense to remove both disparities.

    December 9, 2009 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  61. mike o'neill

    How many Taliban fighters are there? We should pay them each $1000 per month to not fight. Much cheaper than paying Haliburton and enriching Dick Cheney, again.

    December 9, 2009 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  62. James

    What the HELL are we doing over there anyway?!?!?! Trying to push out lifestyle, political system and religion on theose people?!?! No WONDER they hate us in that part of the world. George Bush was SUCH an to stir those people up.

    December 9, 2009 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  63. Tara

    What I read was the Afghan government pays for their own secruity, but they are on a budget on what they can spend. What is not mention here is the current hiring freeze they have in effect for over a year because of this very low budget. So now that they are paying them more does that meant they are going to start laying off?

    December 9, 2009 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  64. Chuck

    We are paying the taliban. Why would you not think we would be funding the "Security Forces?" We were dirrectly and indirrectly funding the Viet Cong, in Vietnam, while maning the conflict with half a million, mostly poorly trained poorly led Americans that were so young that many just started shaving. At least now the troops we send have good training. Leadership under Bush/ Rumsfeld was Vietnamish. Rumsfeld is a typical Bush incompetent.

    December 9, 2009 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  65. Brett from Oriskany,VA

    Someone once said , you can rent an Afghan but you can't buy one. Afghans find any foreign presence to be distasteful, and how long before the Taliban ups the ante? Most Afghans don't view themselves as a nation, rather as tribal groups such as Pathans, Hazaras, Tajiks, Uzbeks, etc. Until they develop some form of nationalism they will be prey for tribal warlords.

    December 9, 2009 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  66. Richard

    Wow, we'd probably win this war quickly if just one banking CEO's Christmas bonus were used to pay Afgan security!

    December 9, 2009 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  67. doug

    I have no problem with the US paying for the Afghan security forces. Even the whole bill. As long as the soliders get it, and Karzai doesn't siphon it off. Certainly the cost of sending one US soldier is vastly more expensive. Consider that if we throw in $300 for 100,000 Afghan soldiers - it only comes to 30M, which is small beans for the war chest. What a bargain! Heck, why don't we pay them $500 if they're good soldiers?

    Of course, another alternative would be to try to get at the Taliban's main source of income – Opium. If we legalized and controlled heroin here in the US, the rest of the world would probably follow. But is anyone willing to even TALK about this in congress? Of course not. They're all too afraid and puritanical.

    December 9, 2009 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  68. Mart

    And now I can make $600 a month does anyone know for sure if they are collecting an army pay they still aren't on the Taliban pay role as well. We cant win this mess and it will never change over there.

    December 9, 2009 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  69. stimulost

    Where is the Taliban getting the money?

    December 9, 2009 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  70. Other Possibilities

    How are the Taliban paying for their army? By profits from the drug trade out of Afghanistan, that's how. Raising the pay of the Security Forces is laudable, but perhaps we should be looking to cut the legs out from under the Taliban by destroying the poppie fields. Seems like destroying fields of poppies would be easier & cheaper to do than trying to track down soldiers hiding in mountains.

    Oh, yeah, I forgot, the "good" Afghans also make money on the poppy fields and would object to that. Makes you wonder whether the people we're supporting really deserve our effort, money, and lives...

    December 9, 2009 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  71. JoAnn

    I was not aware that Americans pay for Afghan security....this is pure BS.........

    December 9, 2009 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  72. Art

    Politics as usual, and than they'll want more. Is this what are soldiers are dying for. Shameful.

    December 9, 2009 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  73. Vietnam Vet

    Well come on people - it's not rocket science. If the opposition pays twice as much then where is the incentive?

    December 9, 2009 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  74. Nate

    And here I was optimistic that we had learned a lesson from Iraq. You can't nationbuild without the occupied country having a substantial armed service.

    December 9, 2009 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  75. realist22

    What a blinding flash of the obvious...if you give a financial incentive for Afghans to join the ANA/ANP, all but the most ideological muslims will join the fight on the right side of the fence, if they choose to stand up for anything at all. Unfortunately this measure comes about 5 years delinquent, and may be too little, too late. Units on the ground have been talking about this pay disparity for years, but our political and miltary leadership blew it off. We'll see if this last-minute hail mary may improve our chances of training and retaining the indig forces that will ultimately be our exit strategy.

    December 9, 2009 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |