Afghanistan: America's Trillion Dollar War

Tyler Durden's picture

16 years since the Bush administration launched its military intervention in Afghanistan, President Trump has announced his intention to increase the U.S. military presence in the country. As Statista's Niall McCarthy notes, there are approximately 8,400 U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan and reinforcements could start arriving within days. Trump's new strategy is set to extend the longest war in U.S. history and add even further to its already staggering cost.

Website "The Balance" has been keeping track of Afghanistan's economic impact and the conflict has now cost the U.S. at least $1.07 trillion since 2001.

Infographic: Afghanistan: America's Trillion Dollar War  | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

That can be divided into three segments.

$773 billion can be attributed to Overseas Contingency Operations funds specifically dedicated to the war.


$243 billion comes from increases in the base budget of the Department of Defense...


while the increase in the Veterans Administration budget cost $54.2 billion.

Financing Afghanistan reached its zenith in 2010 amid Obama's surge when costs topped $112 billion.

That gradually dropped as U.S. troops shifted their focus away from offensive operations to concentrate more on training Afghan forces. Earlier this week, General John Nicholson, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, said that the president's strategy is a sign of long-term commitment to Afghanistan and called on the Taliban to agree to peace talks.

Even though Trump has said that his decision to boost troop levels isn't "a blank check", it is still difficult to see how his Afghanistan strategy is any different from his predecessors.

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Tiwin's picture

One trillion dollars would give each and every of the 650,000 homeless people in this country a 1.5 million dollar mansion.

spag's picture

never mind, its just a few hours on the printing machine

Multi's picture

As long as it helps the interest of Israel, our biggest ally should I say, it's well worth it.

(/sarc  for the not too bright)

yogibear's picture

US business is war. China's is business.


fleur de lis's picture

The Afghan war has absolutely nothing to do with freedom, peace, justice, blah, blah, blah.

The DC Swamp, the Alphabetroids, and the Pentagram are protecting the opium crop.

When the Taliban took over, the first thing they did was burn the massive opium fields because they deemed opium unIslamic.

Opium became scarce and the narcotics profits took a knockout hit.

Oxycontin beccame mixed up in the shortfall.

That was why we invaded -- to replant and harvest the opium.

US Marines are abused by the Swampites to guard the source of their narcotics money.

That is also why Pat Tillman got murdered -- he figured out the scam right away and made the fatal mistake of sending emails home.

Now the opium poppies are flourishing and the harvests are bigger than they ever were.

Check the UN numbers on opium, how they crashed in Y2k and are now in the stratosphere.

So don't think for a split second that the Swampites will ever leave Afghanistan.

There's gold in them thar hills.

Notice also the marked increase in opioid deaths across America.

Not that our "leaders" give a damn -- they are only concerned about the skyrocketing numbers in the bank not the morgue.

For every opioid death there are other customers to pick up the slack until they too, die.

As long as opioids fatten the bankbooks of the Swampites, expect huge opium harvests more death, at home and abroad.

The DC Swamp uses and abuses the general population and the armed forces with the same depravity.





aliens is here's picture

Yeah anything for the fking JOOs right because what the German Nazis did to them in the 40s.

Offthebeach's picture

If you can't find a couch to surf,  a basement/attic/garage to sleep are a real fk up.  For every wanna be Theroux,  King Of The Road, there are 20 working sucky jobsxat McDonalds, gas pay rent. Bums going to bum, they just to get high and manipulate peoples, poor peoples, good nature.  Fk. em.  

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Nothing personal...peons are made for peeing on.  Some even enjoy it. Ever see a "homeless" wild animal? One of them has more sense and self-worth than the entire Free Shit Army,

sinbad2's picture

You will be one of the first to lose your head when they rise up.

Leveraged Algorithm's picture

Yes - but it was well spent on crushing rocks.  Would the homeless be more productive with the assets than the camel jockeys?  Probably about the same results....

Tiwin's picture

"We did the math-It wasnt worth it after all"

Iskiab's picture

It's purely a pride thing at this point. Good money after bad.

TheMagician's picture

It boggles the mind to think what that 1 Trillion could have accomplished to our infrastructure and school system. I mean, better roads, bridges, more name it.

Instead, everything goes to fill the pockets of the Deep State and its subdivision, the MIC conglomerate.

We have managed to make stupidity a wholesale product. 

Shucks...Only in the USA, man. Only in the USA.

Hikikomori's picture

There was a civil engineer who wrote a book about that, I can't recall the name.  Came out last year.  He said the money thrown down the rat hole in Afghanistan and Iraq would have paid to bring ALL America's infrastructure into reasonably good shape - not perfect, but pretty good.

Proctologist's picture

Only if that infrastructure money is put in the hands of thrifty Civil Engineers. The ones that want to be paid like bankers and lawyers will just flush it down the toilet.

Kyddyl's picture

But we can't have world class free health care, or education or even the freedom we once had? 

sinbad2's picture

Yes, they take money from you, to kill them, but you keep electing them?

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

No, the elctronic "voting" machines elect them.

sinbad2's picture

Yeah, well it's pretty obvious American elections are dodgy, the US won't even allow international observers to observe.

Americans just don't care, but that will change soon enough.

Offthebeach's picture

Sure you can.  Join the Deep State, the mil, be a internal security milf.  

Noting is "free".  You pay, or someone else pays.  If you pay, you have choice, if others pay, they choose for you, always.

Brazen Heist's picture

A trillion dollars spent on fighting an enemy - the Taliban, which is nowhere near defeat. Great work fellas.

Then there was Vietnam and Iraq.

What a complete waste of life, money and resources. This is what you get when an ideologically imbred Oligarchy calls the shots.

hibou-Owl's picture

When has the yankees won a war outright"???

Not in living memory, very good at starting them or turning up late.

And here comes Kimmy and let the clown show begin.

Cost, don't worry the kids will pay and I'll get my pension.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Fool...the plan is to prolong wars, not end them.

smacker's picture

Without spending $1 trillion of US taxpayers money on a pointless war in Afghanistan, the military boots would not be on the ground to guard the poppy fields and cultivate opium production/export for the CIA to covertly fund its black ops around the world, including its covert supply of weapon systems to ISIS and other terrorists in Syria (via Silk Way Airlines etc) which are then used to kill US boots on the ground there.

And with all the military equipment being used up or destroyed (some of it was even stolen when some US forces pulled out several years ago), MIC profits are UP!

For the CIA, MIC and Deep State warmongers this is a win-win-win.

Not sure if this comment should have /sarc or not ;-)


Brazen Heist's picture

The $52 billion dollar budget increase to the war racketeers must be justified.

Oldrepublic's picture

This article by Pepe Escobar of Sputnik spells out the big picture:



worth reading for 5-7 minutes

11b40's picture

404 error - page does not exist.

smacker's picture

Yes, thanks for that. I'm pleased to note that my own assessment of the CIA's role in opium production in Afghanistan is exactly as Pepe describes it.

So, the CIA is an organised criminal outfit.

And I note Pepe also points out that Trump has nobody to turn to to sort it out because the Pantygon is also involved with the CIA.

Internet-is-Beast's picture

From the taxpayers' pockets to whose pockets? 

That is the question.

Whether the money passes through a thousand hidden channels

That graft is heir to

And is spent on things we know not of,

Its final resting place,

From whose offshore bourne

No accounting can return,

T'is an investigation

Devoutly to be wished.


Aye, there's the rub.


Robert Trip's picture

I don't see heroin sales on those charts.

Overall we're probably in the green a few billion.

hestroy's picture

Not the ordinary citizen who actually has to pay for a dose twice. 

JailBanksters's picture

How unusual ..

Spending more on military to prop up a failing economy.

The more is spent on Military, the more the country is F'ed.

History really does repeat itself.

Hkan's picture

Thanks taxpayers...u did a good job paying the bill. Lets go....look for new conflicts....we got a few in mind..

/Sincerely Your Military


hestroy's picture

Good for you, American citizens. Good for you. The rest of the world wish you this from the whole heart.

indygo55's picture

Opium has been a staple product of the elite for centuries.


A. Boaty's picture

Not just elites. Opium is the opium of the masses.

HoserF16's picture

I can't wait to fly into Afghanistan and order a Big Mac. Maybe play a slot machine while slurping a Big Gulp soda. YAY

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

A breakdown in yearly profits from the opium and heroin trade would be interesting. No doubt, the war's cost was well paid for by protecting the opium crops for those years. Next, track the kickbacks to government officials from all countries involved in marketing addiction and the resultant drug deaths...then execute all of the evil bastards!

dogismycopilot's picture

I think the above analysis forgets to include the VA cost of taking care of the disabled and wounded vets - for the rest of their lives.


Davidduke2000's picture

America's longest war that yielded nothing. 

venturen's picture

It is almost like Obama was never there.  Obama was as a stratgic DISASTER. Not saying Bush wasn't bad...but Obama gave away trillions to the most crooked...while accomlishing alot of destruction of the USA. Will go down in history as the worst president EVER.


Note most of the money was spent during Obama years of going backwards! 


The two solutions are either ban Islam from government....or abandon the who thing and let them slaughter each other! 

Wahooo's picture

Picking up where Tiwin left off below ...

For what we’ve spent bringing freedom and democracy to Afghanistan, we could have:

Bought every one of the 650,000 homeless people in America a $1.5 million mansion, PLUS given them $20,000 to furnish it, PLUS given them $150 a month from April through September to have a lawncare service mow the grass – for 20 years.

Or given every elderly person currently in assisted living in the U.S. a $500,000 home and in-home elderly care for 30 years.

Or given each of the 13.4 million students enrolled in 4-year colleges in the U.S. enough to pay for four years of average college tuition, room, board and books.

Or given every man, woman and child in America $3,200 - and let THEM decide what to do with it.



LA_Goldbug's picture

Take a look here and get a feel for who gets the money

Able Ape's picture

Uncle Scam says, "I spent a trillion dollars on that bitch and I haven't got so much as a peck on the cheek.  What's a guy gotta do to get some?"...

goldinpenguin's picture

when people wonder why soc sec benefits have to be cut in a few years the president can point to a succession of misguided wars from vietnam to afgan iraq, syria which were funded with soc sec trusr funds.

if these wars had to be funded by dedicated income tax, say an income tax surchage, they never would have happened. 

Offthebeach's picture

US Fed Gov can do to Afghanistan,  what Fed Gov prigrams have done for Detroit, Chicago + 1,000 other cities, pubic edjamakiton in general,  Obamacare.  It is what the thing does.  Washington is a wonk delusion factory, and grifters paradise.  Reason, history have no place there.  So who's crazier,  Washington or Zerohedge thinking anything will change?

totenkopf88's picture

And the beat goes on

And the beat goes on