Building Military Bases for the Fragile Afghanistan Army
Is it really worth the millions of US taxpayer dollars to fund and build 22 military bases in a ring around Afghanistan for an army that,at best, is barely ready to continue the war against the Taliban?
I guess so, because that is what the US is doing. They are building 16 brigade sized and six corps-size bases, each costing $300-350 million dollars. The smaller brigade sized bases are only $89 million times 16. The whole damn project is costing Americans $6.7 billion and it began in 2005. Of course, none of this was announced to the average American.
And then there are the cultural wastes, like at the Super Base in Paktika province near the Pakistan border. It has been under construction since 2009 and so far has cost $89 million for the brigade base. The base is so elaborate and complex (built to American standards) those that are building it doubt whether the Afghans will be able to after the US leaves. The mess hall used propane stoves, which Afghans do not because they use the old way-wood stoves. There are deep fryers that will no doubt deep fry very little. The base is huge, 300 acres, and when finally completed will have cost $114 million. It has fiber optics for internet use and electrical generators that officials seem to think the Afghans will be unable to support because they require 250 gallons of diesel. They cost too much to operate for them. The base contains 122 buildings with air conditioning and terazzo tiled flooring. The base also has a hand built wall surrounding it which cost $2.5 million. The base has a waste water plant, soccer field, underground sewer and fire station. The kitchen is very culinary but most will not be used because Afghan cooks prep food on the floor and use much larger pots. Thus, the stoves are now too small and must be removed to make way for 10 wood burning stoves set into the ground floor. Does this mean they must tear up the terazzo tiles? Ooops.
And, yes, the newest edition to the base is a 22,000 sf mosque. At least this they will build themselves. This base will house about 2000-3000 men, all just being in the Army because in Afghanistan, where else are you going to go for work? They are as patriotic as palm leaves blowing in the wind. Among them, there will be at least a few willing sell out to the Taliban for access to the base- a few hundred bucks should do it.
One can just see the base go up in smoke or maybe even seized one day after 2014. But, for America, it is nothing new. We did this in Vietnam. How do you think they got the naval port at Da Nang or Cam Ranh Bay or their airbases at Bien Hoa?
We're a generous nation to everyone but not at home.