The unceremonious exit of US forces from Afghanistan marks the end of nearly two decades of foreign military intervention in the country, leaving behind a trail of destruction and waste that is difficult to comprehend.
The last three US military transports left Hamid Karzai Airport on Monday evening, just before the August 31 deadline set for full withdrawal. For years, Washington and the media have described the conflict in Afghanistan as a stalemate that provided enough security to ignite social progress, security, and stability. But an autopsy from the past twenty years tells a different story – a story of bloodshed, instability and relentlessness, at a total cost of over $ 2,000 billion.
$ 85 billion in US weapons and equipment abandoned to the Taliban
According to Congressman Jim Banks (R-Indiana), due to the “negligence” of the Biden administration, the Taliban are in possession of 75,000 vehicles, more than 200 planes and helicopters, 600,000 small arms and light weapons, as well as night vision goggles and bulletproof vests.
He claimed that the Taliban now owns more Black Hawk helicopters than 85% of countries in the world, including close allies of the United States. He estimated the equipment to be worth $ 85 billion, but some have suggested a much higher figure.
At least 47,000 civilians killed
Although estimates vary, Brown University’s Costs of War project has calculated that at least 47,000 Afghans were killed in the war. Even now that the fighting has ended, the consequences of the conflict are still being felt: unexploded ordnance continues to kill and maim civilians, in many cases children. The war has also exacerbated the effects of poverty and the lack of sanitation and health care in the country.
Almost 6 million Afghans displaced
The US-led conflict in Afghanistan has fueled a refugee crisis that continues to reverberate across Europe. In a country of 38 million people, an estimated 5.9 million Afghans have been internally displaced or have fled the country since the war began in October 2001.
In the past three years alone, more than 395,800 Afghans have been displaced, according to Afghan government figures released in early July.
Over 2,400 US servicemen killed and 20,000 injured
Current estimates put the total US military casualties at over 2,400 killed, with 20,000 more injured. 3,800 other private entrepreneurs died during the 20 Years War. More than 1,100 Allied military personnel, including those from NATO countries, have also lost their lives.
At least 64,000 Afghan soldiers and police killed
More than 64,000 members of the United States-trained Afghan National Army (ANA) and the country’s police force perished in the war.
Countless Thousands of American Bombs and Ammunition Dropped on Afghanistan
As the war entered its final years, the US military dramatically intensified its bombing campaign in Afghanistan. In 2019, US warplanes dropped 7,423 bombs and other ammunition on the country, nearly eight times more than in 2015.
Hundreds of thousands of hectares of opium poppy
According to a UN estimate, Afghanistan’s opium production was estimated at 6,300 tonnes in 2020. In that year, the total area devoted to opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan was estimated at 224,000 hectares. , an increase of 37% compared to 2019. Afghanistan is again the number one country in the world. main source of opium poppy. Under the Taliban, the culture had been almost completely eradicated by May 2000.
Untold levels of grift and waste
With a price tag of over $ 2 trillion, the war in Afghanistan has suffered from a seemingly endless stream of profiteers and con artists.
In 2007, the US Air Force paid $ 18 million to a private company to build barracks at Camp Phoenix, an army facility in Afghanistan. The company brought in a subcontractor who withheld wages from its workers and then fled the country with $ 2 million, which he used to build luxury homes overseas. Its ripped off workers decided to pay themselves by leaving with generators and other materials taken from the military camp. The resulting delays left hundreds of NATO troops without adequate housing for more than a year.
This is just one of dozens of similar cases. In 2019, a whistleblower claimed that a defense firm, Navistar Defense, overcharged the Pentagon by $ 1.3 billion for components of armored vehicles used by troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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