The war in Afghanistan has lasted 17 years, earning the name “Forever War.” Here is a look at the history, facts and timeline of the conflict.
U.S. President George W. Bush announced the first strikes in Afghanistan one month after the terrorist attacks on America on Sept. 11, 2001. An international coalition launched the attack with the aim of toppling the ultraconservative regime of the Taliban that had provided sanctuary to the terrorist group al-Qaida, which was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The coalition consisted of 136 countries around the world.
The war is still ongoing, 17 years after it began. In June 2010, it surpassed the Vietnam War as the longest war in U.S. history. Three presidential administrations have overseen the war, that of Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
U.S. troop deployment:
There are about 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan at the end of 2018, but about half of them are logisticians or trainers. When President Barack Obama took office, there were about 30,000 troops there. His surge more than tripled that number to more than 100,000 in 2011. In 2012, Obama began a draw-down which left about 8,500 troops at the end of his second term in 2016. President Donald Trump boosted the numbers to more than 14,000.
Costs of war
More than 2,400 U.S. troops have died in the Afghan War since 2001. The deadliest year was 2010, with 499 American casualties and a total coalition loss of 711 lives. According to the United Nations, tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have also been killed since the war began. The first six months of 2018 were the deadliest since 2009, when the U.N. started keeping record of civilian casualties, with 1,692 deaths. Another 3,430 civilians were injured in the same period.
The Pentagon said in February that the war was costing the American people $45 billion per year, including $5 billion for Afghan forces, $13 billion for U.S. forces inside Afghanistan, some $780 million for economic aid and much of the rest for logistical support. From 2010 to 2012 at the height of the U.S. deployment, when there were more than 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, the cost surpassed $100 billion each year.