Obama proposes $4.6b in aid to Afghanistan
The budgetary proposals also include $2.5 billion in assistance for counterterrorism-related programmes, economic growth, reconciliation and reintegration.
Another $2.1 billion has been proposed for supporting the expansion of the diplomatic and interagency presence, the extraordinary costs of security in a conflict zone and public diplomacy programmes to build long-lasting bridges with civil society.
The budgetary proposals are for the fiscal year 2013 beginning on October 1, 2012 and this needs to be approved by both chambers of Congress – the House of Representatives and the Senate – before being implemented.
The US government informed the Congress that by the fall of 2012, the 33,000 US troops who surged into Afghanistan would be home. “As troops come home, our civilian personnel will remain to secure our hard-won gains and help Afghans ensure that their country never again becomes a terrorist safe haven,” it said.
The funds will be used to establish a stable foundation for long-term economic growth, put in place the resources to support an enduring civilian partnership and smooth the transition as Afghans reclaim responsibility for their country’s security.
“To fund this essential work, we request $4.6 billion for Afghanistan, including $3.2 billion in OCO costs,” the administration said.
Building a stable Afghanistan depended on effective cooperation with Pakistan, the budgetary proposals said, maintaining its partnership with the neighbor was critical to its national security.
The Obama administration also sought funds to strengthen democratic and civil institutions that provided a bulwark against extremism, support joint security and counterterrorism efforts, and protect American personnel.
By September 30, 2013, US Government assistance delivered will help the Afghan government increase domestic revenue level from sources such as customs and electrical tariffs from 10 percent to 12 percent of GDP.
$811.4 million will support long-term partnership between the United States and Afghan governments and people. This request will help strengthen Afghanistan to be sufficiently resilient to withstand the longer-term economic, security, and governance challenges associated with the transition to Afghan security lead.
Another $400 million is proposed to be used for strengthening justice and corrections systems, promoting civil society and rule of law programs, as well as helping protect populations at risk, particularly women and children.
In Afghanistan, funding of $1.25 billion in ongoing operations meets operational and security requirements for the ongoing civilian presence as transition from military to civilian-led operations accelerates in 2013.
“To consolidate the military gains made against Al Qaeda and other extremists, civilians will work to build a more accountable and effective Afghan government that serves its people, generates economic opportunities, and functions with limited international support.”
The request includes support for a new consulate in Kandahar and a new diplomatic platform in Herat and Mazar-e Sharif, as well as support for aviation assets.
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