The High Cost of the War in Afghanistan

With the Taliban now controlling larger and larger parts of Afghanistan as shown in this series of screen captures from FDD's Long War Journal (Taliban-controlled areas are in dark magenta):



…it is very apparent why the Biden Administration has taken this step:

…which, for some reason, is reminiscent of this photo from April 30, 1975:

Here is a screen capture from Liveuamap showing the current military actions in Afghanistan:

Given that it looks like 20 years of war have essentially accomplished nothing, let's look at the high cost of the war in Afghanistan.

Here is a graphic from the Watson Institute's Costs of War study showing the American costs from fiscal 2001 to fiscal 2021 for the war in Afghanistan which includes the costs for operations in both Afghanistan and Pakistan:


It is important to note that the war in Afghanistan was completely funded using debt which means that American taxpayers will be paying for this war well into the future as interest costs on the amount borrowed continue to accumulate.

Here is a table which shows the Watson Institute's estimated direct war deaths in both Afghanistan and Pakistan:

So, was it all worth it?  I'm guessing that most historians and the majority of Afghanis would say no.  On the other hand, the upper floor, corner office dwellers in America's defense industry would say that it was a resounding success, particularly when it came to their personal finances.

Let's close this posting with a tweet from Aaron Zelin, a Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy with a specialty in Sunni Arab jihadi groups in North Africa:

Keeping in mind the American experience in Vietnam, what is currently happening in Afghanistan would suggest that, while history doesn't repeat itself, it certainly does rhyme.


This tweet from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul tells just how tough the United States is going to get with the Taliban:

Not the dreaded "strong condemnation".  Please, don't launch that weapon of mass destruction.

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