President Obama has given the next president a headache in the form of a war he thought he’d end before he’d leave office.
The Taliban in Afghanistan had other ideas, so the president is going to stop the withdrawal of U.S. troops by the end of his term and leave 5,000 U.S. troops in the country. He’ll make the announcement today.
There are currently about 10,000 troops in Afghanistan.
How does this compare with other countries where U.S. troops are deployed?
Good question, with a difficult answer. The Department of Defense doesn’t make it easy for anyone to know.
Quartz took a stab at it a few months ago and it looks something like this:
But it found that disagreements over what constitutes “U.S. presence” and calculating secret bases makes the task more difficult.
There are still about 40,000 US troops, and 179 US bases in Germany, over 50,000 troops in Japan (and 109 bases), and tens of thousands of troops, with hundreds of bases, all over Europe. Over 28,000 US troops are present in 85 bases in South Korea, and have been since 1957, it notes.
But the number of overseas deployments do appear to be dropping. Huffington Post provides this graphic of deployments under Obama in his first year in office.
And the most recent year for which there is data:
Keeping 5,500 troops in Afghanistan would cost about $14.6 billion a year. It would have cost about $10 billion a year to maintain the much smaller force based at the American Embassy, the New York Times says.