Hey ... remember these guys -- the Afghanis?
During his recent [fund-raising] trip to Tokyo, [Hamid] Karzai was promised $51 million [by world leaders] for the ["New Beginnings"] program, which aims to provide commanders with micro-credits to transition to new livelihoods in exchange for their weapons.
But Afghan officials say that the funds pledged in Tokyo are three times short of what it would take to make such a plan a reality.
Aside from demobilization, the formation of the Afghan National Army is also proving to be a challenge.
Only 3,000 of the promised 70,000 soldiers have so far been trained by the U.S. and coalition forces.
Defense Minister Marshall Fahim told NBC that many soldiers have not been paid for months as the Afghan government doesn’t have the budget for it and the donations have not provided for it.
At the same time, there are reportedly fresh flows of money to fund operations of al-Qaida and Taliban groups as well as the forces of renegade warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar....
Karzai told reporters last week it will take between $15 and $20 billion over five years rather than the $4.5 billion pledged by international donors more than a year ago in Tokyo....
But with the costs of an Iraqi war and post-war recovery program expected to cost billions of dollars — mostly out of the U.S. Treasury — it will be doubly hard for Karzai to persuade the United States and the rest of the international community to cough up another $15 billion for to help Afghanistan get back on its feet.
But, of course, this is in no way a harbinger of what's to come in Iraq, right?