A NATO official has said that if troops leave Afghanistan by the proposed 2014 deadline, there could still be "eye-watering" levels of violence. Strategies are in place to hand over several provinces and districts and begin reforming military and police forces as early as next year. But there are still major hurdles: Afghan troops' drug abuse and illiteracy may prevent foreign troops from making a clean break in 2014. The cost of running a newly reformed army on its own would be $6 billion a year, which is over half of Afghanistan’s GDP. The IMF predicts that at this rate, Afghanistan will not be able to pay for its own military until 2023.
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