Sell, Give Away and Destroy: the Dismantling of America’s Presence in Afghanistan

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The age old adage about war–attributed to Napoleon himself–is that an army travels on its stomach. Even the smallest wars are massive undertakings requiring food, shelter, and the myriad equipment required to wage the fight itself, and modern wars have become giant logistical enterprises where combat is is only one part of the equation. During the Iraq War,  the proportion of combat soldiers to support troops–what is known as the “Tooth to Tail Ratio“–was at least three support troops for every combat soldier (some studies put the ratio of support soldiers to those who regularly fought and patrolled at seven to one).

In both Iraq and Afghanistan, by far the largest part of the support operation was logistics, moving thousands of tons of equipment into and around the country. For the first decade of the war in Afghanistan commanders stockpiled equipment, and only late last year, with the deadline to leave looming just over the horizon, did they shift the focus to moving it out. But first everything needs to be sorted into what the military must keep, what they can give away or sell to the Afghans and what must be destroyed.

Last January, TIME reported on a unit tasked with organizing equipment from thousands of containers at a mid-sized base in Logar Province. This year, similar units have crushed vehicles and structures into 387 million pounds of scrap,which was sold to Afghans for $46.5 million according to a recent AP report. Coalition forces have also handed over $71 million worth of equipment.

For many Afghans, the junk that gets left behind could be a treasure, or it could just be unusable stuff that must be hauled away. The sorting and moving will continue until the end of 2014, when the vast majority of foreign forces–and the things they brought with them–will be gone. – Nate Rawlings

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7 comments
Openminded1
Openminded1

This country waste a lot of money on two things, Obama and his salary  his golf trips and the space program. just think of what we could save.

StephenSwain
StephenSwain

It's always the same.  World War II:  Jeeps, tanks, airplanes:  junked.  Billions of dollars worth.  Korea: the same.  Vietnam:  the same.  What a horrible waste!


vetramon
vetramon

Oh history, history, when are the arrogant and so called powerful going to learn from you? In those unforgivable land and mountains, lie the dust of so many who wanted to enslave those backward people. In many cases they only had their belief and primitive weapons to expel their invaders, and in the present cases they had their religion and the weapons supplied by their future invader, to expel godless invader and spread their corpses in this unforgivable land, and all in the name of geopolitics.

   And now, the arrogance of the mighty invader is being humiliated, as was the humiliation of uncountable others. But humiliation doesn't mean quitting the arrogance, no sir, now after Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, they went to Libya and following the ill advised murmur of their imperial arrogance they entered pompously into the fray of Syria, abetting the same people that is defeating them in Afghanistan.

   Do you think that they have learnt from history, no sir, now lending an ear to the plead of the peaceful Zionists and the American congress that these entes own, they want this powerful and arrogant country to start another war in Iran, because the peaceful Zionists don't want to lose their hegemony in the middle east.  And here we go again, this president, as the other before him, go in front of AIPAC and promised to this Zionist minority that the blood of the American youngsters is going to be shed to PROTECT their tiny and peaceful Zionist country. Will America ever learn?

JohnKovacich
JohnKovacich

why give it away, al-qaeda can use all that eqiupment when they come back to afgahistan.

Veteran68
Veteran68

@vetramon I doubt it. We haven't so far as you very clearly and rightfully point out. What needs to happen to make us learn? I don't have the answer. Any ideas anyone??

Openminded1
Openminded1

@JohnKovacich Come back, they are still there. the muslim ass holes will get all that crap and use it against the U.s. and whom ever they feel like killing. do not worry about al-qaeda, they will use it or sell it.