Report: Afghanistan to Largely Increase Defense Spending

Afghanistan’s defense spending grew by more than 18 percent over the past four years, with further increases expected as the number of International Security Assistance Force troops decreases, according to a new independent report. Afghanistan’s defense spending grew from $0.9 billion in 2011 to $1.8 billion in 2015, and is expected to reach $3.4 billion in 2020, 11.6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, according to the report by the British think tank Strategic Defens?e Intelligence?. The money—used to reconstruct the country’s entire military—focuses on countering threats from the Taliban and illegal drug traders, according to the report. While historically the country has focused on outfitting its military through deals negotiated by NATO, since 2014 Afghanistan has been able to buy from foreign defense manufacturers through government-to-government deals.