US President Joe Biden has said that he wants all US troops to withdraw from Afghanistan before September 11. He has put forward the May 1, 2021 deadline of President Trump.
Biden has said, “The time has come to end America’s longest war.”
This war started in the year 2001.
How many soldiers did the US send to Afghanistan?
The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 to oust the Taliban from power. The US alleged that Afghanistan was sheltering Osama bin Laden and other people associated with al-Qaeda. The US considers them responsible for the September 2001 attack.
The United States spent billions of dollars to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan and sent a large number of troops. The US has also spent heavily on reconstruction in Afghanistan.
By December last year, the number of American soldiers in Afghanistan had been reduced to four thousand. This year the number of soldiers has reduced even more.
However, the official data of the US does not reveal the exact number of special operation forces and other temporary units.
At one time during the war, the number of American soldiers had reached one hundred and ten thousand.
At the same time, private security contractors for Americans in Afghanistan are also working in large numbers. According to research by the US Congress, in the last quarter of the year 2020, there were 7800 American citizens in Afghanistan.
When the US military focused its attention on training Afghan security forces instead of aggressive actions, the expenses of the US fell drastically.
According to US government data, between 2010 and 2012, when the number of US troops in Afghanistan exceeded one million, the annual expenditure on the Afghan war exceeded one hundred billion dollars.
At the same time, the annual expenditure in 2018 was 45 billion dollars. That year a top official of the Ministry of Defense gave this information to the US Congress.
According to the US Ministry of Defense, the war on Afghanistan cost $ 778 billion between October 2001 and September 2019.
In addition, the US State Department has spent $ 44 billion on development projects in Afghanistan through the US agency for international development (USAID), an international organization of the US.
According to the official data of the US, between 2001 and 2019, the US spent a total of 822 billion dollars in Afghanistan. However, the money spent in Pakistan is not included in these figures.
The US has used Pakistan as a base for its military operations in Afghanistan
According to a research conducted by Brown University at the University of Afghanistan and Pakistan in the year 2019, the US has spent about 978 billion dollars. The amount released for the fiscal year 2020 is also included in Brown University’s assessment.
It has also been said in this research that it is difficult to estimate the expenditure correctly because the expenditure is calculated differently in different departments of the government. Methods also change over time, which also has an impact on assessment.
Where is all this money?
Much of the money has been spent in Afghanistan on anti-extremism operations and the needs of soldiers, including their food, medical care, special pay and living arrangements.
However, official data shows that since 2002, the US has spent $ 143.27 billion on reconstruction activities in Afghanistan.
About half of this money has been spent on the security forces of Afghanistan, which includes the Afghan National Army and the police force.
About $ 36 billion has been given for the Afghan government and development plans. Apart from this, expenses have also been incurred against drug trafficking and humanitarian aid.
During these years, some money has also been wasted in corruption, scams and misuse.
In its report presented to the US Congress in October 2020, the agency that monitors the US reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan said that between May 2009 and December 2019, there was also a $ 19 billion loss in Afghanistan.
And what about the human cost of war?
Since the start of the war against the Taliban in 2001, more than 2300 American soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan, while 20660 soldiers have also been wounded during the fighting.
But, the American figures are nothing in the face of the loss of Afghan civilians and security forces.
President Ashraf Ghani said in the year 2019 that within five years of his becoming President, more than 45 thousand Afghan security forces have lost their lives.
More than 64100 Afghan soldiers and policemen have been killed since the start of the war in October 2001, according to Brown University’s 2019 research.
According to the United Nations mission in Afghanistan, more than 111000 Afghan civilians have been killed since the beginning of data collection in 2009.