Afghanistan: Has it cost America $500bn?

Afghanistan: Has it price America $500bn?



US soldiers firing artillery gun in Logar province AfghanistanPicture copyright
Getty Photos

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The US has been combating the Taliban in Afghanistan since 2001

The US navy has spent billions of {dollars} since 2001 combating the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

However the finish could lastly be in sight for America’s navy presence within the nation if the present talks happening in Doha between america and the Taliban attain a profitable conclusion.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has mentioned the battle has “price america authorities and society $500bn”.

How correct is that this determine and the way may it have been reached?

US troop ranges in Afghanistan

2002 – 2018

The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, accusing the Taliban of harbouring Osama bin Laden and senior al-Qaeda figures linked to the 9/11 assaults.

They eliminated the Taliban from energy, after which the militant group began a long-running insurgency throughout the nation.

US troop numbers in Afghanistan grew as Washington poured in billions of {dollars} to battle the Taliban and fund reconstruction.

Between 2010 to 2012, when the US for a time had greater than 100,000 troopers within the nation, the price of the battle grew to nearly $100bn a yr, in response to figures offered by the US authorities.

Because the US navy shifted its focus away from offensive operations and concentrated extra on coaching Afghan forces, prices fell sharply and between 2016 and 2018 annual expenditure was round $40bn.

The estimated spend for the yr to March 2019 is $18bn.

US price of battle in Afghanistan

2001 – 2019

So, in response to the US Division of Protection, the overall navy expenditure in Afghanistan (from October 2001 till March 2019) was $760bn.

That is considerably greater than the determine given by the Afghan president.

However an independent study carried out by Brown University’s Cost of War Project argues that the official US figures for Afghanistan are a considerable underestimate.

It says they don’t embrace spending on battle veterans’ care, cash spent on different authorities departments for war-related actions and the price of curiosity on debt incurred to pay for the battle.

It estimates the overall price, factoring in these further parts, is nearer to 1 trillion US {dollars}.

The place has the cash gone?

The majority of the cash has been spent on counter-insurgency operations, and on the wants of US troops, akin to meals, clothes, medical care, particular pay and advantages.

Official information reveals the US has additionally contributed roughly $133bn -16% of all cash spent within the final 17 years – to reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.

And greater than half of that ($83bn) has gone on build up Afghan safety forces, together with the Afghan Nationwide Military and police drive.

Picture copyright
Getty Photos

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Afghan safety forces have suffered heavy casualties

The remaining has been primarily spent on bettering governance and infrastructure, in addition to on financial and humanitarian support and anti-drug initiatives.

The US has spent on common $1.5m day – or almost $9bn since 2002 till June this yr – on anti-narcotics efforts, yet the area devoted to growing opium poppy has actually increased, according to UN figures.

In 2017, the US watchdog chargeable for the oversight of reconstruction efforts said that as much as $15.5bn had been lost on “waste, fraud and abuse” over the past 11 years.

That determine might be “solely a portion” of the overall waste, in response to the watchdog, which added that US cash “typically exacerbated conflicts, enabled corruption, and bolstered help for insurgents”.

What concerning the human price?

Because the battle in opposition to the Taliban started in 2001, US forces have suffered 2,300 deaths and round 20,500 troopers injured in motion.

In accordance with official figures, roughly 14,000 US navy personnel have been in Afghanistan as of June 2018, however there have been additionally almost 11,000 US civilians who have been working as contractors.

However US casualty figures are dwarfed by the lack of life amongst Afghan safety forces and civilians.

President Ghani mentioned this yr that greater than 45,000 members of the Afghan safety forces had been killed since he turned president in 2014.

Whole civilian casualties in Afghanistan

2009 – 2019*

Mr Ghani’s determination to disclose casualty figures was uncommon, because the US and Afghan governments do not usually publish Afghan loss of life tolls.

However, some reports say that Afghan security force fatalities have been very excessive in recent times, generally averaging 30-40 deaths a day.

And according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama), greater than 32,000 civilians have been killed and about 60,000 injured because it started systematically recording civilian casualties in 2009.

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