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Cost of Afghanistan mission could reach $11.3billion, government says

The Canadian Press reports that, “The Canadian combat mission in Afghanistan could cost taxpayers around $11.3 billion by the time it ends in 2011, according to a new government estimate.”

“Around $9 billion of the costs are Defence Department-related and include expenses for personnel, equipment, supplies, maintaining bases and medical needs. The report also lays out $2.3 billion of mission expenses in other departments, including $1.7 billion for the Canadian International Development Agency, $400 million for the Foreign Affairs Department and $150 million for Veterans Affairs Canada. Long-term health-care costs are not included because they are more difficult to account for, as health-care issues can be the consequence of cumulative mission experiences, the report says.”

BUDGET OFFICER SAYS COST COULD BE $18.1 BILLION “In October, parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page offered different estimates, saying the mission costs could reach as high as $18.1 billion, or $1,500 per Canadian household. Page reported that Canada had spent $7.7 billion to $10.5 billion on costs related to the mission in the past six years, and could spend $13.9 billion to $18.1 billion by the end of the 2010-11 budget year. Page’s report also said a lack of government consistency and transparency made it difficult to come up with estimates, and the figures likely understate the full costs of the mission.”

“Since the mission began, 108 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have died as part of the mission, while roughly 375 troops have been wounded.”

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