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America’s longest war, the conflict in Afghanistan, has cost $975 billion when 2019 estimates are factored in according to website The Balance. Their data is based on research from Brown University and it makes the war in Afghanistan second only to the inflation-adjusted $4.1 trillion the United States spent during the Second World War in terms of overall cost. That’s despite the fact that American families have not suffered a noticeable economic impact from the conflict, even though there is no draft in place as well as no tax to fund it.
Between 2001 and 2012, the cost of the war gradually climbed, particularly after President Obama announced a troop surge soon after taking office. Costs reached their highest level in 2011 at $107 billion, the same year Navy SEALS killed Osama Bin Laden in a raid in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad. In the years since, both troop levels and costs declined significantly as American forces transitioned to a training and mentoring role for the Afghan military. By 2018, the conflict had an annual bill of approximately $52 billion.
Despite the drawdown of offensive operations on the ground, the number of U.S. bombs dropped on the country has increased significantly. As the Taliban continued to retake ground and amid the emergence of ISIS in some corners of the country, the U.S. dropped more bombs on Afghanistan in 2018 than ever before. According to U.S. Central Command data, American warplanes dropped more than 7,300 munitions on Afghanistan last year, compared to 4,361 in 2017 and just 947 in 2015.
*Click below to enlarge (charted by Statista)