Afghanistan: America's Trillion Dollar War
16 years since the Bush administration launched its military intervention in Afghanistan, President Trump has announced his intention to increase the U.S. military presence in the country. As Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, there are approximately 8,400 U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan and reinforcements could start arriving within days. Trump’s new strategy is set to extend the longest war in U.S. history and add even further to its already staggering cost.
Website “The Balance” has been keeping track of Afghanistan’s economic impact and the conflict has now cost the U.S. at least $1.07 trillion since 2001.
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That can be divided into three segments.
$773 billion can be attributed to Overseas Contingency Operations funds specifically dedicated to the war.
$243 billion comes from increases in the base budget of the Department of Defense…
while the increase in the Veterans Administration budget cost $54.2 billion.
Financing Afghanistan reached its zenith in 2010 amid Obama’s surge when costs topped $112 billion.
That gradually dropped as U.S. troops shifted their focus away from offensive operations to concentrate more on training Afghan forces. Earlier this week, General John Nicholson, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, said that the president’s strategy is a sign of long-term commitment to Afghanistan and called on the Taliban to agree to peace talks.
Even though Trump has said that his decision to boost troop levels isn’t “a blank check”, it is still difficult to see how his Afghanistan strategy is any different from his predecessors.