US spent $2mn per militant in failed Syria program
The US government’s program to train and equip militants in Syria has cost it $2 million per trainee and produced a meager result, a new report shows.
The Pentagon officially scrapped its “train-and-equip” program in Syria last month after spending a total of $384 million on a small cadre of militants, the USA TODAY said in a report Thursday.
Initially, US President Barack Obama’s administration had tabbed $500 million to the plan, pledging to produce 3,000 so-called “New Syrian Forces” this year, and 5,000 more annually thereafter, who were allegedly trained to take on Daesh terrorists.
The program was suspended after $384 million was spent on 180 militants. From those, 145 militants remain in the program while only 95 of them are stationed in Syria.
The Pentagon disputed the figures, claiming the actual cost was far lower at around $30,000 per trainee. The “vast majority” of the funds were used for weapons, equipment and ammunition, some of which were still in the possession of the US-led coalition, Navy Commander Elissa Smith, told the daily.
“Our investment in the Syria train and equip program should not be viewed purely in fiscal terms,” the Pentagon spokeswoman added.