We Pay Afghan Soldiers Less Than the Taliban Does
Perhaps the biggest unexpected fact to emerge in the hearing comes in response to a question from Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). According to Gen. McChrystal, the Taliban pays its soldiers about $300 U.S. per month — which is more than the U.S.-sponsored Afghan government does.
It’s a shame Chambliss moved on so quickly, but he made the essential point. McChrystal said that in coordination with the Afghan government, the pay scale for the Afghan security forces has just almost doubled, to the point where it’s “almost at parity” with the Taliban now. Of course, that still means the Taliban pays its recruits more than the Afghan government does. And if the Obama administration and NATO are correct that many Taliban foot soldiers essentially fight because of economic opportunity, then this is a glaring, flashing red light of a problem.