Thursday, August 24, 2017


From Truthout:

About 104,000 people have been killed as a result of armed conflict in Afghanistan since 2001. More than 31,000 were civilians, according to the Costs of War project at Brown University. 
• Since President Obama approved a troop surge in 2009, the war in Afghanistan has claimed at least 26,512 civilian lives and injured nearly 48,931 more, according to a July United Nations report. At least 5,243 civilians have been killed or injured in 2017 alone, including higher numbers of woman and children than previous in years. 
• There are currently an estimated 8,400 US troops stationed in Afghanistan, according to reports. Trump did not say how many more troops he would send to fight in the war, but reports indicate that he approved sending 4,000 additional troops, bringing the total number to 12,400. 
• The Department of Defense reports that there have been 2,394 US military casualties as a result of the war in Afghanistan, including 44 casualties since military operations officially "ended" back in 2014. 
• As of 2015, US drone strikes in Northern Pakistan killed between 2,000 and 3,800 people, according to international estimates. About 22,100 Pakistani civilians have been killed and another 40,000 wounded since the US ramped up support for counter-insurgency programs in the country. Violence in Pakistan has created about 1.4 million refugees. 
• Congress has committed more than $800 billion directly to the war in Afghanistan since it began in 2001, but when associate costs such as the price tag of medical services for wounded veterans are factored in, that number easily tops $1 trillion. 
• $1 trillion is also the combined amount of money researchers estimate the US government will need spend on treating wounded veterans from military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan by 2053, according to a 2016 Brown University study. 
• The study also found that, when the war budgets for the Department of Defense, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security are combined with the estimated cost of caring for veterans, the total price tag for US operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria since 2001 comes out to nearly $4.8 trillion. 
• By 2014, the US had incurred $453 billion in interest on money borrowed to pay for the wars. Unless Congress changes the way the US pays for war, interest costs will add $7.9 trillion to the national debt by 2053, an amount that dwarfs the original costs of the all the wars combined, according to the Brown University team. 
• About $110 billion has been allocated to humanitarian relief and reconstruction in Afghanistan since 2001, including at least $4.8 billion for "counter-narcotics" operations. A 2015 report found that the formal Afghan private sector only accounts for 10 to 12 percent of the nation's economy, with much of the rest coming from international and US aid or the black market. 
• As of 2015, 58 percent of the $13.3 billion in USAID funds spent on reconstruction in Afghanistan went to only 10 contractors, and federal auditors have long complained of delays and cost overruns. 
• Critics say these claims of improvements brought about by US reconstruction efforts have been exposed as downright lies: For example, earlier this year the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction found that the number of Afghan pupils studying in US-funded schools is 70 percent lower than officials reported. 
• The federal government currently spends about 54 percent of its discretionary budget on defense, which is more money than any other country spends on its military by a long shot. If Congress were to accept President Trump's budget proposal, that percentage would increase to 63 percent in 2017 and 68 percent in 2018.

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