The Afghanistan Junkyard
A Scorched Earth Policy
Between now and 2014, America will move over 50,000 vehicles, ship 100,000 20 ft. metal containers than would stretch 400 miles to exit from a war that was won and lost. Unlike in iraq, where America left much of the military logistics and supports, in Afghanistan, president Karzai is begging for the US NOT to destroy the same items needed.
America is not listening. Perhaps the recent bad blood between the leader and US military over various issues had colored actions, but much of the equipment used by the US military is being destroyed or turned in useless rubble before the troops exit. This equipment varies from A to Z, items they could still use as they go on their own. The policy of destroying the equipment is the opposite in Iraq, where $100 million in the same types of equipment was left in operational status for Iraqis to use.
From the US perspective, the two reasons are: keep it out of the hands of the Taliban, who were obviously NOT defeated, so they do not make bombs and by leaving it in a useless state, the equipment does not need to be shipped back. Such logic!
In the past year, the US has created 387 million pounds of scrap from such equipment and sold it to them for $46 million. Some of the scrap are vehicles too worn out to ship back or difficult to maintain. I guess, why would Afghanistan buy the junk? Maybe they thought they could repair them?
The US has given $64 million worth of good, usable equipment that Afghan security and military can use, assuming they can maintain them and have spare parts. Big assumption as years slip by.
Yet, Afghans do not understand why a lot of non-military equipment that can make their lives easier is destroyed. We're talking air conditioners, generators, furniture, tires, office equipment, TV and more. It is a perplexing question regarding this "scorched earth" exit. Are the US soldiers just venting frustration before they leave because the enemy is still there and sitting on fringe just waiting for the last Americans to leave? Maybe. America hates to lose, look at Vietnam.
But even this policy has created jobs in this country. Many now collect the junk and sell it to buyers who may create new uses for it. Still, the difference how America left Iraq is very contrasting.
Who gave the directive to this scorched earth policy?
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