America’s Cost of War in Afghanistan: Over $345 Billion and Growing
COUNTY-BY-COUNTY Data: Over 1,600 New York Troops Deployed in Afghanistan Right Now
Senator Gillibrand is calling for passage of the Safe and Responsible Redeployment of United States Combat Forces from Afghanistan Act, legislation to begin withdrawing American combat forces from Afghanistan on July 1 of this year. Senator Gillibrand is also making a formal request for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to negotiate a Strategic Redeployment Agreement, based on the model used to withdraw American forces from Iraq, to establish a 2014 withdrawal end date for U.S. combat troops.
“America cannot afford an endless war in Afghanistan,” Senator Gillibrand said. “After nearly a decade at war, with still no equal commitment from the Karzai government, and after all the lives we’ve sacrificed and the billions we’ve spent on this war, it’s time to start bringing our troops home. It’s time to put the future and security of Afghanistan in the hands of its own leaders, and focus America’s national security on the emerging and more imminent threats from al Qaeda in other regions.”
Nearly 100,000 American troops are deployed in Afghanistan today, including more than 1,600 from New York State.
- New York City is home to 259 total military personnel currently deployed in Afghanistan.
- Western New York is home to 95 total military personnel currently deployed in Afghanistan.
- The Rochester/Finger Lakes Region is home to 88 total military personnel currently deployed in Afghanistan.
- Central New York is home to 98 total military personnel currently deployed in Afghanistan.
- The Southern Tier is home to 45 total military personnel are currently deployed in Afghanistan.
- The Capital Region is home to 55 total military personnel currently deployed in Afghanistan.
- The North Country is home to 528 total military personnel currently deployed in Afghanistan.
- The Hudson Valley is home to 105 total military personnel currently deployed in Afghanistan.
- Long Island is home to 96 total personnel military currently deployed in Afghanistan.
Factors Behind Redeployment Strategy
- Transparency International ranks Afghanistan the second most corrupt nation in the world. Its largest bank, Kabul Bank, which processes international aid, funds government salaries and security forces, is on the verge of collapse as a result of widespread corruption.
- Neighboring Pakistan harbors al Qaeda and Taliban insurgency while Pakistan’s intelligence agency maintains ties to the Taliban.
- Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has called for Afghanistan’s forces to take lead for their country’s security.
- Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula has now surpassed Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda organization in Afghanistan as the most likely to successfully execute an attack inside the United States, according to Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Michael Leiter.
Begin Combat Forces Withdrawal in July 2011
Senator Gillibrand believes it is time to signal a clear end to America’s combat mission in Afghanistan. Senator Gillibrand is an original co-sponsor of the Safe and Responsible Redeployment of United States Combat Forces from Afghanistan Act, legislation authored by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and co-sponsored by 4 senators. The legislation would:
- State that it is U.S. policy to begin the phased redeployment of U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan by July 1, 2011;
- Require the president to submit a plan to Congress by July 31, 2011 for the phased redeployment of U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan, including a completion date for such redeployment.
Establish Strategic Redeployment Agreement
To lay the foundation for an end date to America’s combat forces in Afghanistan and support Afghanistan security forces’ lead for their country’s security, Senator Gillibrand has written to Secretaries Clinton and Gates requesting the negotiation of a Strategic Redeployment Agreement, based on the model used to withdraw American forces from Iraq.
The agreement could also set conditions beyond 2014 for a continued, modest, non-combat mission in Afghanistan, such as an ongoing counter-terrorism mission, along with training of Afghan forces and civilian security projects. The agreement would retain current freedom of mission and protections for U.S. personnel in Afghanistan.
A 2008 Strategic Framework Agreement between the U.S. and Iraq established the broader relationship between the two countries and a 2008 Withdrawal of U.S. Forces Agreement set December 31, 2011 as the complete withdrawal date for U.S. troops.
Senator Gillibrand’s full letter to Secretaries Gates and Clinton:
Dear Secretaries Clinton and Gates,