By December 2014, the U.S. military is scheduled to be out of Afghanistan, and many worry not only about the logistical nightmare of getting $50 billion worth of equipment out, but also unhappy relations within the nation and what may get left behind or grabbed by the enemy while it travels across the rugged and hostile nation.
“A lot of this stuff, you're not really concerned about bringing it back. I mean if a Coke machine falls into the hands of the Taliban, this is just not a big disaster.”
So says Jim Hasik, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in a Foxnews story. The taxpaying public looks at the what was spent to equip our armed forces and reacts. Beyond the loss of life and wounded troops, they imagine much waste in military drawdowns and things just left behind.
From recent comments on the foxnews sight the reactions are strong. Under the name "herbvette" this was stated:
"If it cannot be shipped home - destroy it. If people only knew how much military material and equipment we left behind in Viet Nam - they would be outraged."
From someone commenting under the word "Keep" is written:
"Bring the equipment home! The equipment is at least worth its weight in scrap if nothing else! Why spend a million dollars on 1 vehicle and then consider leaving it behind. Sure it is going to cost to get them out of there and sure someone is going to charge an arm and a leg to transport it home, but if they use American firms and require American workers then maybe one or two American jobs can be created! This is tax payer funded equipment. Bring it home no matter where it is."
Combat vehicles and more are available according to the Fox article. The govliquidation surplus website is pointed out in the story as the place to go if any member of the point-and-click public has an interest in finding large items such as rafts, fire engines or trucks or even many smaller items.
Last month a story in the UTsandiego reported on the great upset about President Hamid Karzai's government idea to impose an "exit tax on American military equipment, food supplies and other goods" as the U.S.A. pulls troops and property out of Afghanistan over the next 18 months. In the article, Sen. Patrick Leahy was also quoted:
"I have seen some stupid things from that government. I have seen some things that make you wonder what universe they live in. But this one just went beyond the pale."
No mention if any of the proceeds from this will go towards paying the exit tax.
The Congressional threat had been to withhold $5 in foreign aid to Afghanistan for every $1 in fees imposed on the United States for repatriating any property.
A story from Bloomberg mentions it may cost about $7 billion to leave Afghanistan after what has been "the longest war in American history."
The conflict has cost about $600 billion, led to the deaths of 2,205 American troops and injured 18,462, according to the article, which also states that about 16,725 Afghan civilians have been killed. And of the 66,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan, about 32,000 will return by February 2014, and "most of the rest will depart by December 2014, leaving a smaller force to train and advise Afghans as well as conduct counterterrorism operations."