Afghanistan has already cost America $6 Trillion Dollars–tens of thousands of lives (and counting due injuries and due to suicides on a daily basis)

Price of NATO’s Afghan war as allies discuss withdrawing

February 17, 2021

It is a war seemingly with out finish – 20 years of blood and sweat spilled in Afghanistan’s deserts has claimed tens of hundreds of lives, value a whole lot of billions of {dollars}, and achieved few of its goals.

The nation’s authorities is held collectively by a fragile power-sharing deal, it’s one of the least democratic and most-violent locations on earth, and half of its territory is both in Taliban arms or being contested by the Islamists.

Now, NATO leaders are meeting for talks this week are considered mulling withdrawal after President Trump pledged to have all US troops out by May.

While Biden could but reverse that promise, if he pushes forward then it’s unlikely that NATO forces will keep for much longer. Their withdrawal would carry an finish to one of the longest conflicts of fashionable instances. 

So, after 20 years of war, was all of it price it? MailOnline examines… 

NATO entered Afghanistan in December 2001, shortly after the US invasion, and on the peak of its mission in 2011 had 130,000 troops within the nation. That quantity now stands at simply 10,000 – with chiefs mulling a full withdrawal. The 20-year war has value the alliance not less than $825bn, seen 3,500 troops killed and has left huge swathes of the nation nonetheless in Taliban arms (left)

The human value

The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 on a counter-terrorism mission – in search of to seize or kill the Al Qaeda leaders who orchestrated the 9/11 terror assault, and to displace the Taliban authorities which sheltered the group.

NATO was not far behind, arriving within the nation two months later with a mission to safe Kabul province so the brand new authorities might be established there.

But the goals shortly modified – a brand new aim to rebuild Afghanistan as a steady and democratic nation throughout the Middle East emerged, and the war dragged on.

Military operations expanded to suit. In 2003, NATO’s mission prolonged throughout all the nation and troops grew to become extra concerned in day-to-day preventing alongside common US forces.

Coalition forces have lost 3,500 troops, the vast majority of whom - around 2,400 - were Americans, while tens of thousands have been injured in the fighting. Around 110,000 Afghans are thought to have died, thought that is likely an under-estimate

Coalition forces have lost 3,500 troops, the overwhelming majority of whom – round 2,400 – have been Americans, whereas tens of hundreds have been injured within the preventing. Around 110,000 Afghans are thought to have died, thought that’s seemingly an under-estimate

At its height, in 2011, the NATO pressure numbered roughly 130,000 males drawn from 50 international locations, earlier than declining quickly from 2013 as US forces pulled again.

In 2014, main duty for safety was handed over to the Afghan authorities and today, there are round 10,000 troops from 36 international locations stationed there in help and coaching roles.

Over that point, some 3,500 coalition troops have died preventing – the overwhelming majority, round 2,400, have been American.

The UK lost some 450 troopers – the second-highest complete – who have been largely killed in Helmand and Kandahar provinces after they took over fight operations from the Americans.

On the Afghan facet, it’s thought that greater than 110,000 have been killed together with not less than 31,000 civilians who have been largely hit by airstrikes.

At least 30,000 coalition troops have additionally been wounded within the preventing – the overwhelming majority American – whereas tens of hundreds of Afghans have additionally been wounded.

The monetary value 

NATO prices are exhausting to estimate as a result of its troops are drawn from dozens of international locations which management spending individually via many separate budgets.

However, the revered Stockholm International Peace Research Institute beforehand estimated that mixed US and NATO fight prices in Afghanistan from 2001 and 2012 totalled round $725billion.

Researchers from the Development Initiatives basis then used that information to estimate that every soldier posted in Afghanistan prices roughly $450,000 per year.

Using that estimate together with common NATO troop figures between 2013 and final year, it’s potential to reach an a complete estimate for NATO fight operations of round $825billion over the course of the war.

NATO combat operations alone are thought to have cost somewhere around $825billion, though the cost of rebuilding the country and supporting Afghan forces is far higher. Estimates of those costs stretch into the trillions of dollars (file image, a gas plant burns in the city of Herat)

NATO fight operations alone are thought to have value someplace round $825billion, although the associated fee of rebuilding the nation and supporting Afghan forces is much greater. Estimates of these prices stretch into the trillions of {dollars} (file picture, a gasoline plant burns within the metropolis of Herat) 

However, this determine is prone to be an under-estimate as it solely covers boots on the bottom, with out factoring in support donations and money spent on the rebuilding.

NATO international locations individually fund Afghan safety forces to the tune of a number of billion {dollars} every year, with $3.4billion contributed in 2020-21.

On the US facet, estimates printed by the New York Times in 2019 put prices at nicely over $2trillion.

Some researchers have gone additional, with one paper from Brown University suggesting the true sum is nearer to $6trillion.

What has it achieved?

Osama bin Laden, the architect of the 9/11 bombings, is useless – whereas most of his co-conspirators are both locked in Guantanamo Bay or have additionally been killed.

The Taliban are now not in management of Afghanistan, which has held 5 units of elections since 2004 – the final being the 2019 presidential race.

That resulted in a disputed poll that narrowly handed victory to Ashraf Ghani over his rival Abdullah Abdullah – who arrange a parallel authorities.

The pair ultimately reached a power-sharing deal in May 2020 that noticed Ghani stay chief however granted Abdullah management of key ministries and put him in cost of negotiating with the Taliban.

However, it’s nonetheless ranked as one of the least-democratic locations on earth in line with The Economist’s 2020 rating, coming 139th of 167 international locations, alongside the likes of Cuba and Venezuela. 

The Taliban (delegates pictured in Qatar last year) are officially in peace talks with the Afghan government, but there is little sign of an agreement being reached. As US forces have withdrawn, attacks on official forces and civilians have increased

The Taliban (delegates pictured in Qatar final year) are formally in peace talks with the Afghan authorities, however there may be little signal of an settlement being reached. As US forces have withdrawn, assaults on official forces and civilians have elevated

It can also be riven with violence, with the Taliban waging a decided counter-insurgency towards the federal government.

As US forces have drawn down assaults by Taliban forces on civilians, Afghan safety forces and the armed forces have elevated.

Resolute Support, NATO’s mission in Afghanistan, reported 2,586 civilian casualties from October 1 to December 31 final year, with 810 killed and 1,776 wounded.

Attacks in northern Baghlan and southern Uruzgan provinces over two days in December final year killed not less than 19 members of the Afghan safety forces. 

In Kabul, a roadside bomb struck a car, wounding two, and a lawyer was shot in a focused killing. 

Meanwhile Taliban forces both management or are contesting greater than half of Afghanistan’s territory, in line with the Long War Journal.

A proposal printed by President Biden’s personal advisers warned not too long ago that it will take as little as 18 months for the group to regain management of the nation if the US withdraws in May, as scheduled.

‘We imagine a U.S. withdrawal will present terrorists a possibility to reconstitute, and that reconstitution will happen inside about 18 to 36 months,’ mentioned Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, a boss of the Joint Chiefs of Staff below Trump.

U.S. envoy for peace in Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad (centre) and U.S. Army General Scott Miller, commander of NATO and US forces in Afghanistan (right), attend President Ashraf Ghani's inauguration in Kabul last year

U.S. envoy for peace in Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad (centre) and U.S. Army General Scott Miller, commander of NATO and US forces in Afghanistan (proper), attend President Ashraf Ghani’s inauguration in Kabul final year

They have advisable preserving US troops within the nation till peace talks that are speculated to be going down between the Afghan authorities and Taliban attain an ‘acceptable consequence’.

But with talks successfully stalled there isn’t a assure that an ‘acceptable consequence’ will come quickly – if ever – whereas others warn preserving American troopers within the nation previous the deadline could make them the goal of assaults. 

At least 30,000 Afghans have been wounded within the preventing, although 

The talks come as President Joe Biden wrangles with whether or not to maintain Trump’s promise to withdraw all US troops by May this year, a transfer that will seemingly lead NATO to withdraw.

Biden’s advisers have urged him to push that deadline again, saying the Taliban could be in full management of the nation inside three years if the US departs now.  

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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