A U.S. soldier stands guard at Kandahar Air base in Afghanistan. Photo: Shah Marai / AFP / Getty Images

The assistant secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, Randall Schriver, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday that the U.S. will spend an estimated $45 billion on the war in Afghanistan this year, the Hill reports.

Why it matters: The U.S. has been in Afghanistan for almost 17 years; President Trump announced a new strategy months ago, but there has been skepticism about whether or not it will force the Taliban into peace talks.

  • Schriver broke down the 2018 spending, per the Hill: roughly $13 billion for U.S. forces, $5 billion for Afghan forces, $780 million for economic aid, and the remaining funds for logistical aid.
  • Sen. Jeff Merkley was skeptical the Taliban would be interested in "a political settlement," as they "control more territory than they did since 2001," according to the Hill. The Taliban is currently operating in 70% of Afghanistan.
  • Sen. Rand Paul said the $45 billion is "just being thrown down a hatch in Afghanistan," per the Hill.

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