The U.S. footprint in Afghanistan is scheduled to wind down considerably over the next couple of years, but anti-Taliban efforts are proceeding apace.

In fact, the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force — Afghanistan is looking for fast delivery of “150 lightweight assault ladders,” to be at Bagram Air Field just 30 days after a contract is signed “for immediate deployment for current missions.”

And the contract process won’t take long because it’s a no-bid, sole-source contract to Allred and Associates in Elbridge, N.Y. (They also make carbon reinforcements and tools for luthiers — people who fix lutes and other stringed instruments — but that’s another division.)

These 12-foot ladders, to come in three sections, can’t weigh more than 10.8 pounds. But they have to be strong enough to hold 350 pounds. And they must fit in a duffle bag “wearable like a backpack.”

Clearly this is a special type of ladder. Allred is the only one that makes these, the Army says. Sounds like these might be expensive items.

Well, the Army says the “total estimated value” of the contract is only $ [deleted].

Hmmm. Maybe they keep the cost a secret lest the Taliban find out?