Explained: Debilitating effects of 20 year-long US War in Afghanistan
The 20-year-old war in Afghanistan is said to be the most outstandingly costly in history.Author : A. Gayatri
The tumultuous Afghan landscape saw a new chapter on September 1, as it was the first day since the US forces have pulled out of Afghanistan officially after 20 years. The US invaded Afghanistan in September 2004, as an aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in Washington and has been in the country since then until August 31, the deadline set by President Joe Biden to withdraw the US troops from Afghanistan.
This, however, has come at a cost for not America but also for Afghanistan and the territory as well.
The 20-year-old war in Afghanistan is said to be the most outstandingly costly in history.
Estimation says that the war may have cost the US a whopping $2.3 trillion in 20 years to fight the war against terrorism. Though, America has never given the exact expenditure.
What was lost the most in the war was human cost, much higher and larger than anything else. The real loss was the loss of human lives and livelihood.
Declaring the war in Afghanistan as the longest ever fought by the United States to be over, President Joe Biden on Tuesday addressing the nation, said: “I refuse to send another generation of America’s sons or daughters to fight a war that should have ended long ago… after more than $2 trillion spent in Afghanistan. The cost that researchers at Brown University estimated would be over $300 million a day for 20 years in Afghanistan. Yes, the American people should hear this.”
As per data compiled by Linda Bilmes of Harvard University’s Kennedy School and from the Brown University Costs of War project, explains how the costing may have taken place.
The US opened a war in Afghanistan after the attacks of 9/11 that killed thousands in America and almost handicapped the economy. Leaders of the Al-Qaeda who plotted those attacks were sheltering in Afghanistan, which prompted the US to invade and avenge the killings and attacks.
The percentage of the US population born since 2001 is roughly one out of every four.
War is more devastating to humans, including pressure on the taxpayers, loss of infrastructure, education, livelihood and so on. Meanwhile, it is estimated that since the invasion of the US troops in Afghanistan around 2,448 American servicemen have died. About 3,846 US contractors, Afghan national military and police total amounting to 66,000 have been killed. The number of other allied service members, including those from other NATO member states killed is 1,144.
The Afghan war has scarred no one as much as it has damaged the lives of Afghan people. Around 47,245 Afghan civilians' lives were lost in the war.
Taliban and other opposition fighters who died amounted to 51,191, while 444 aid workers have died. The war killed 72 Journalists.
But what remains after the war is over, is something more saddening. It not only leaves a lifelong pain but takes away the zeal to live further. The war in Afghanistan has caused numerous issues like mortality rate, dearth of food and life expectancy.
The percentage of infant mortality rate has dropped ever since the US, Afghan and other allied forces together toppled the Taliban government in early 2000, which restricted women and girls to the home. That is about 50 now.
The percentage of Afghan teenage girls who can read today stands at 37.
The date when Congress authorized the U.S. forces to go after culprits on September 11, 2001, attacks: Sept. 18, 2001. The number of times the US lawmakers have voted to undertake a war in Afghanistan is zero. Meanwhile, the number of times US legislators on the Senate Appropriations defence subcommittee addressed the costs of the Vietnam War, during that conflict, amounts to 42. Five times the US lawmakers in the same subcommittee have attributed costs of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, through mid-summer 2021.
It was only one time when the lawmakers on the Senate Finance Committee cited the costs of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars since Sept. 11, 2001, through mid-summer 2021.
Any war would come at a heavy cost on the country's citizens' pockets, from the taxes that the nations incurred the expenditure. President Harry Truman temporarily raised top tax rates to pay for the Korean War, which was 92%.
President Lyndon Johnson temporarily increased top tax rates to pay for the Vietnam War to about 77%.
President George W. Bush reduced tax rates for the wealthiest, rather than increasing them, at the beginning of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, which was at least 8%.
The approximate amount of direct Afghanistan and Iraq war costs that the United States has debt-financed as of 2020 stands at $2 trillion.
The estimated interest costs by 2050 are up by $ 6.5 trillion.
Even after the war ends, the costs don’t, the country and the people have to pay the debts. Bilmes views that America has committed to pay in for health care, disability, burial and other expenses for about 4 million Afghanistan and Iraq veterans which comes up to more than $2 trillion.
In the coming period, those costs will peak after 2048.
In addition, between 238,000 and 241,000 people have lost lives in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a direct result of the war. These numbers do not value deaths resulting from lack of food access, water, and infrastructure, and related diseases.
Following 2001, to a certain degree, 801,000 individuals have been massacred in wars fought in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan.