Kabul, July 4 (ANI): The US and its coalition partners have only agreed to fund an increase of around 46,000 Afghan security forces next year, a significantly smaller expansion than had been expected, Western diplomats have said.
The US and its international partners had earlier agreed to expand the total number of Afghan police and soldiers to 352,000 by October 2012 from about 305,600 now.
The agreed increase is about 26,000 fewer than had been envisaged in a review in January because of funding reductions for the war by the US Congress and concerns that the impoverished Afghan government can not pay for such a large force in future, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The smaller increase, combined with plans to withdraw 33,000 US troops by 2012, will leave Afghanistan with a much smaller fighting force than previously anticipated to combat the insurgency, the paper said.
This year, the US and its allies are spending 11.6 billion dollars for training, equipping and providing the salaries for Afghanistan's police and army.
Next year, funding will grow to 12.8 billion dollars, with the US paying for 92 percent and European and other partners footing the rest, the paper said.
Diplomats expect the Afghanistan government will have to struggle to pay for the country's national forces after 2014 when the bulk of international troops withdraw.
"Sustainability is a serious issue; it's almost impossible to calculate when the Afghans will be able to pay for their own forces, but nobody is really expecting it to happen for at least another 15 years," the paper quoted a senior European diplomat, as saying. (ANI)