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Official: U.S. cost for Afghan mission to drop, even without drawdown

By Larry Shaughnessy, CNN Pentagon Producer
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The U.S. military is asking to spend $6 billion less next fiscal year for Afghan operations
  • Last year, they spent $113 billion and are requesting $107 billion for the next cycle
  • The figure doesn't account for possible cost savings from a proposed troop drawdown
  • A Pentagon spokesman says the Joint Chiefs chairman's costs estimates were wrong

Washington (CNN) -- The U.S. military is requesting for operations in Afghanistan next year billions of dollars less than it has been authorized to spend there this year, a Pentagon spokesman said -- a drop that does not take into account the newly mandate troop drawdown in the embattled Asian nation.

Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan said that through the current fiscal year, which ends September 30, the Department of Defense has been authorized to spend $113 billion in Afghanistan. For the 2012 fiscal year, which starts October 1, 2011, the military is requesting $107 billion for the same mission -- a $6 billion decrease.

The price tag does not include anything related to President Barack Obama's order Wednesday that 33,000 U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of next summer.

"We don't, at this point, have drawdown-related costs or savings," Lapan said.

The financial request for next fiscal year isn't finalized, as Congress has yet to approve the Pentagon's budget proposal.

As of this April, the Pentagon is spending $6.2 billion per month for operations in Afghanistan, according to Lapan, disputing a figure offered the previous day by the U.S. military's highest-ranking officer.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mullen had testified Thursday on Capitol Hill that the military was spending $10 billion a month in Afghanistan.

"That's incorrect," Lapan said.