Despite years of investment from the West, primarily by the United States, the Afghan military has proven to be no match for the Taliban. Within a few weeks, decades of military training and financial support were lost. To make matters worse, many of the modern weapons of the Afghan armed forces fell directly into the hands of the Taliban.
As a member state of the European Union and NATO, Belgium has also made efforts to get the Afghan army to stand on its own two feet. For nineteen years there were Belgian soldiers in Afghanistan, often to train their colleagues in various specialties: demining, military police, etc. It is little known that Belgium over the years has also contributed financially to the development of the local army, through the Afghan National Army Trust Fund.
Since 2008, 29 NATO member states, 12 partner countries and the Afghan government itself have contributed resources. In total, according to a NATO report (February 2021), the amount is more than $3.4 billion. The largest contributors came from Germany ($810 million), Australia (680 million), Italy (508 million), South Korea (319 million) and Canada (254 million). Our country has contributed more than $72 million to the fund through regular contributions from the federal budget coffers. As an indicator: at the current exchange rate, this is 61 million euros.
“The trust was trading horses. In principle, you had to contribute according to the economic capacity of your country. But in reality, for NATO countries that preferred not to face too great a risk on the battlefield in Afghanistan, this was a way to pay off their ‘debts’. For this reason, For example, Belgium transferred $72 million and a similar country like Denmark only $37 million. “They fought hard for years in Afghanistan,” a military source said.
It seems that the Belgian money for the Afghan army was lost forever. According to de Croo’s government budget tables, another 9 million euros is expected by 2024. The relevant Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Foreign Minister Eva de Bleecker (Open Vld) reports that the budget meeting in September will look at what should be done with these resources. “we are waiting.”