The last three US military transport departed the Hamid Karzai Airport late on Monday, just ahead of the August 31 deadline set for full withdrawal. For years, Washington and media outlets described the conflict in Afghanistan as a stalemate that had provided enough security to kindle social progress, security and stability. But a post-mortem of the last twenty years tells a different story – one of bloodshed, instability and grift, at a total cost of more than $2 trillion.
$85 billion in US weapons and equipment abandoned to the Taliban
According to Congressman Jim Banks (R-Indiana), due to the “negligence” of the Biden administration, the Taliban is in possession of 75,000 vehicles, over 200 airplanes and helicopters, 600,000 small arms and light weapons, as well as night vision goggles and body armor.
He claimed that the Taliban now have more Black Hawk helicopters than 85% of countries in the world, including close US allies. He estimated that equipment was worth $85 billion, but some have suggested a far higher figure.
At least 47,000 civilians killed
While estimates vary, Brown University’s Costs of War project has calculated that at least 47,000 Afghans were killed over the course of the war. Even now that the fighting has stopped, the consequences of the conflict are still being felt: Unexploded ordnance continues to kill and maim civilians, in many cases children. The war has also exacerbated the effects of poverty and poor sanitation and healthcare in the country.
Nearly 6 million displaced Afghans
The US-led conflict in Afghanistan has fueled a refugee crisis that continues to reverberate across Europe. In a nation of 38 million, around 5.9 million Afghans have either been displaced internally or have fled the country since war broke out in October 2001.
In the last three years alone, more than 395,800 Afghans have been displaced, according to Afghan government figures released in early July.