Afghan exit will cost U.S. billions?
decade of war will cost billions of dollars and prove far more difficult than
last year's withdrawal from Iraq, the Pentagon's No. 2 official said Tuesday.
Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, the Pentagon's point man for overseeing
the drawdown in Afghanistan, talked about the challenges in his first extensive
interview on pulling out of Afghanistan.
Landlocked Afghanistan requires a 1,000-mile drive on
rough, dangerous road to the port in Karachi, Pakistan. So far, just a trickle
of trucks has moved through the two Pakistani border crossings — five trucks in
the north, and nine in the south, Carter said. It will take as long as three
months for traffic to flow freely through Pakistan there, he said.
Even so, that is the best option. Flying equipment out, or
using the long, overland route through nations to the north, has added as much
as $100 million a month in transportation costs, he said.
"The challenge of getting in and out of Afghanistan tells
us a lot about why Osama bin Laden went there in the first place," said Loren
Thompson, a military analyst at the Lexington
Institute and a defense industry consultant.
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