Afghan war and reconstruction has cost U.S. more than $700 billion

The U.S. government’s Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has released its quarterly report to Congress on the state of the war in Afghanistan and how money is being spent. Here are the key findings according to SIGAR:

  • From March 1 through May 31, 2017, the UN recorded 6,252 security incidents, a 21% increase from last quarter.
  • From January 1, 2017, through May 8, 2017, there were 2,531 ANDSF service members killed in action and an additional 4,238 wounded in action.
  • SIGAR is concerned that U.S. officials, whether at State, USAID, Justice, Treasury, Commerce, or elsewhere, cannot oversee the billions of dollars the United States is dedicating to Afghan reconstruction if, for the most part, they cannot leave the U.S. embassy compound. Hunkering down behind blast walls damages not only the U.S. civilian mission but also handicaps the U.S. military mission.
  • In the long run, such extreme risk aversion and avoidance may even contribute to greater insecurity, since it limits U.S. diplomatic reach to the very Afghans necessary to foster stability, rule of law, and economic growth, while sending an unintended but dangerous message to friend and foe alike that the terrorists should be feared and may actually be winning.
  • As of May 15, 2017, the struggle between the Afghan government and insurgents remains a stalemate, with the number of districts and the portion of the population under Afghan government and insurgent control unchanged since last quarter’s February 15 assessment.
  • USFOR-A reported 12,073 MOD personnel had been identified as “unaccounted for” in the Afghan Human Resources Information Management System (AHRIMS) as of May 11, 2017, some of whom could be ghosts.
  • In the first six months of FY 1396 (which began December 22, 2016), Afghanistan’s domestic revenues declined nearly 25% year-on-year and covered about 40% of total government expenditures.
  • The estimated value of opiates produced in Afghanistan increased to $3.02 billion in 2016 from $1.56 billion in 2015. The value of opiates is worth more than two-thirds of the country’s entire illicit agricultural sector.
  • According to SIGAR analysis, the United States has obligated an estimated $714 billion for all spending-including war fighting and reconstruction-in Afghanistan over more than 15 years.

11 thoughts on “Afghan war and reconstruction has cost U.S. more than $700 billion”

  1. You’d think that the politicians would realize that if they got out of that God-forsaken country, they might be able to get even another raise!!!

  2. Not for a second would I criticise the brave men and women who have served in Afghanistan, but this war was such a mistake. These people have been at each other’s throats since time immemorial and they are just not worth our money or the young lives of our military forces.

    1. I don’t think there can be many people that would disagree with you John. It has been a disaster. Civilian casualties in the war in Afghanistan (2001–present) During the war in Afghanistan (2001–present), over 26,000 civilian deaths due to war-related violence have been documented; 29,900 civilians have been wounded. As of October 18th, 2016, there have been 2,386 U.S. military deaths in the War in Afghanistan. 1,834 of these deaths have been the result of hostile action. 20,049 American service members have also been wounded in action during the war. In addition, there were 1,173 U.S. civilian contractor fatalities. CBC News Last Updated: May 2014. As at 23 July 2015, a total of 454 British forces personnel or MOD civilians have died while serving in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001. Of these, 405 were killed as a result of hostile action.
      Between 2002 and 2011, when the combat mission ended, 158 members of the Canadian Forces were killed serving in the Afghan war. We take a look at the men and women who died in the line of duty.
      When all forces are pulled out of the region, what will we have achieved?

  3. Maybe we should let Trump build a big wall round the whole of the Middle East and lock them all in. Then let them get on with it. Eventually they will either learn to get on or they will blow each other up. Either way we’ll, at last, have peace!

    1. Nice idea. Trump talks about wars, stopping South Korea, reigning in China’s military ambitions and tempering Russia’s foreign policy in the east. With the exception of recent Russian sanctions (ratified by Congress – NOT Trump), he hasn’t delivered on a single campaign promise.

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