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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.

Go deeper

54 mins ago - World

Netanyahu and Israel reluctantly adjust to a post-Trump Washington

Netanyahu (R) and Biden in 2010. Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO via Getty

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his close aides are very nervous about the transition to a new U.S. administration after a four-year honeymoon with Donald Trump. One Israeli official told me it felt like going through detox.

What he's saying: Netanyahu congratulated Biden minutes after he was sworn in, saying in a statement that he looked forward to working together to "continue expanding peace between Israel and the Arab world and to confront common challenges, chief among them the threat posed by Iran."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. State of play: New coronavirus cases down, but more bad news ahead.
  2. Politics: Biden set to immediately ramp up federal pandemic response with 10 executive actions — Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. World: Biden will order U.S. to rejoin World Health OrganizationBiden to bring U.S. into global COVAX initiative for equitable vaccine access.
  4. Vaccine: Amazon offers to help Biden administration with COVID vaccine efforts.
Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.

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