Bush announced on Tuesday that over the new few months, he will send nearly 5,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, which he characterized as an increasingly important front in the battle against extremism. Recent Pentagon contracts provide a picture of what the expanded U.S. presence may be called upon to accomplish in that country.
Some larger contracts give an indication of how long the U.S. military might intend to remain in Afghanistan. For example, on Aug. 1, the Army Corps of Engineers announced that Prime Projects International, a firm based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, had won a $50 million contract to design and build a prison complex at Bagram to hold 1,000 high- and low-risk detainees. The complex is not expected to be completed before October 2009.
No matter how many millions or billions the US is going to pour into Afghanistan via private contracts, this problem remains: we have no where near enough boots on the ground to really handle the occupation properly.
The outgoing head of the US NATO command in Afghanistan said that, according to the US military's own protocol, we need at least 400,000 soldiers to hold Afghanistan. Even with the additional 5,000 troops Bush plans to send into this campaign, as reported here:
"ISAF Commander McNeill has said himself that according to the current counterterrorism doctrine, it would take 400,000 troops to pacify Afghanistan in the long term. But the reality is that he has only 47,000 soldiers under his command, together with another 18,000 troops fighting at their sides as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, and possibly another 75,000 reasonably well-trained soldiers in the Afghan army by the end of the year. All told, there is still a shortfall of 260,000 men."
The added 5,000 US troops will result in a shortfall of two hundred fifty-five thousand soldiers.