It seems the only Afghan war number that everyone agrees with is how long we’ve been fighting it: 17 years, as of next Sunday, October 7.
But beyond that key date, other data, including Afghan battlefield deaths and civilians killed in the crossfire, are denied to the rest of us by the U.S. and Afghan officials running the war. If the Afghan war were a business, no accountant could audit its books based on the flimsy and conflicting data Americans have available to decide whether or not to continue this investment.
And it’s a heavy lift: Beyond the deaths of 2,317 U.S. troops in and around Afghanistan, the nation has spent close to $1 trillion on this war, including $126 billion to build Afghan security forces capable of defending their country on their own, and for economic development.
But after nearly two decades, the U.S. and Afghanistan are treading water in this conflict, at best.
“U.S. military officials increasingly refer to ‘momentum’ against the Taliban, however, by some measures insurgents are in control of or contesting more territory today than at any point since 2001,” the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service reported on September 18. (end of excerpt)
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