Citizens of the United States are estimated to pay a total of $6.5 trillion in interest costs for their country’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq by 2050, a report by the Associated Press (AP) has shown.
“The nearly 20-year American combat mission in Afghanistan was the United States’ longest war. Ordinary Americans tended to forget about it, and it received measurably less oversight from Congress than the Vietnam war did. But its death toll is in the many tens of thousands, and generations of Americans to come will be burdened by the cost of paying it off,” the AP’s Ellen Knickmeyer said in a report published on July 12.
According to the piece, the estimated amount of direct Afghanistan and Iraq war costs that the United States has debt-financed as of 2020 stands at $2 trillion, while an equal amount to that figure in interest costs will also be spent by 2030.
The AP reporter also said in the report that estimated interest payments on that $2 trillion so far, based on a higher-end estimate of interest rates, stands at $925 billion.
“As the U.S. commander for Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, relinquished his command in Kabul on Monday, here’s a look at the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, by the numbers,” Knickmeyer said in the report released by the wire service prior to Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan.
According to the report, the number of American service members killed in Afghanistan through April stands at 2,448 while the death toll for U.S. contractors hit 3,846.
The number of casualties among the Afghan national military and police has surpassed 66,000 while a whopping 47,245 Afghan civilians have been killed so far, according to the AP.
In addition, 1,144 people from other allied service members, including other NATO member states also fell victim to the war while 444 aid workers and 72 journalists have also been killed.
U.S. President Joe Biden previously said the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan will end on Aug. 31, delivering an impassioned argument for exiting the nearly 20-year war without sacrificing more American lives even as he bluntly acknowledged there will be no “mission accomplished” moment to celebrate.
The new withdrawal date comes after former President Donald Trump’s administration negotiated a deal with the Taliban to end the U.S. military mission by May 1. Biden after taking office announced U.S. troops would be out by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack, which al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden plotted from Afghanistan, where he had been given refuge by the Taliban.
The Taliban recently declared the war in Afghanistan over after taking control of the presidential palace in Kabul, while Western nations scrambled Monday to evacuate their citizens amid chaos at Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport as frantic Afghans searched for a way out.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Sunday, "The Taliban have won with the judgment of their swords and guns, and are now responsible for the honor, property and self-preservation of their countrymen," after fleeing the country as the militants entered the capital virtually unopposed, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed. The ensuing hours saw hundreds of Afghans desperate to leave Kabul airport.
"Today is a great day for the Afghan people and the mujahideen. They have witnessed the fruits of their efforts and their sacrifices for 20 years," Mohammad Naeem, the spokesperson for the Taliban's political office, told Qatar-based media outlet Al-Jazeera TV. "Thanks to God, the war is over in the country," he said.
It took the Taliban just over a week to seize control of the country after a lightning sweep that ended in Kabul as government forces, trained for two decades and equipped by the United States and others at a cost of billions of dollars, melted away.