US defense budget for 2022 includes $3.3 billion for Afghanistan

The Biden-Harris Administration on Friday submitted to Congress the U.S. President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Budget request of $752.9 billion for national defense, $715 billion of which is for the Department of Defense (DoD) – of which $3.3 billion is earmarked for Afghanistan.

According to the budget report, the FY 2022 Defense Budget submission reflects Biden’s priorities to end the “forever wars,” invest in cutting-edge capabilities for the U.S. military and national security advantage in the future, and revitalize America’s network of alliances and partnerships.

The report stated given Biden’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the FY 2022 budget request of $42.1 billion supports this drawdown, the resulting force posture, and other contingency operations.

According to the report, the request does however support the continued development of the Afghan National Army and National Police to serve as an effective security force that is able to counter terrorism and insurgent threats as well as become a reliable partner to the United States.

The U.S Department of Defense “continues building partnerships using the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund (ASFF) ($3.3 billion) for the sustainment, infrastructure, equipment, and training requirements for an authorized force of up to 352,000 Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Ministry of Interior (MoI) personnel,” read the report adding that this despite “the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have not historically met the full authorized force structure.”

The report stated: “Although the United States plans withdrawal from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, there are residual costs in the FY 2022 budget, which include equipment reset and readiness, in-theater support, and operations/force protection.”

Later in a press briefing, DoD officials stated that “the Afghan Pay and Personnel Systems validate that approximately 300,000 Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Ministry of Interior (MoI) personnel are currently enrolled and eligible for pay during the current fiscal year.

“The request supports further development and sustainment of the ANDSF as an effective and sustainable force to combat a resilient insurgency and as a reliable counterterrorism partner with the United States,” officials said.

DoD official Anne McAndrew said during a press briefing on the budget that “with the withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Afghanistan, support to the Afghan Security Forces remains key in maintaining our ongoing national security objectives in the region.”

She said: “We nevertheless retained funds for an over-the-horizon capability outside Afghanistan and to deter Iran. As we prioritize the Indopacific, we must also ensure that the components have sufficient resources to transition out of Afghanistan responsibly.”

The $3.3 billion request is a slight increase on FY 2021’s $3 billion budget.

The reason for this McAndrew said was because the DoD believes “that given that we are pulling out of Afghanistan we need to provide some additional security support for the ASFF – for the forces there.”