DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — America’s longest war, the two-decade-long conflict in Afghanistan that started in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, killed tens of thousands of people, dogged four U.S. presidents and ultimately proved unwinnable despite its staggering cost in blood and treasure.
This final chapter, with President Joe Biden’s decision to pull all American troops from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, has prompted a reckoning over the war’s lost lives and colossal expenditure.
Here’s a look at the spiraling cost of America’s campaign — the bloodshed, wasted funds and future consequences for the war-battered nation teetering on the brink of chaos.
THE COST IN LIVES
Afghans have paid the highest price. Since 2001, at least 47,245 civilians have been killed in the war as of mid-April, according to the Costs of War project at Brown University, which documents the hidden costs of the post-9/11 wars.
Gun and bomb attacks targeting civilians surged