|Actual mural at the US embassy in Kabul|
How much did the Afghan War cost?
“When you add up the cost of Defense and State Department funds sunk into Operations Enduring Freedom and Resolute Support, then throw in the cost of caring for the conflicts’ veterans and the interest on the money borrowed to cover it all, you’re looking at over $2 trillion, according to a report released Friday.” [source]
The UK and Germany – who had the largest numbers of troops in Afghanistan after the US – spent an estimated $30bn and $19bn respectively over the course of the war. [source]
Of course, a lot of people also died, but we won’t go into that. So, what was it all about?
The “prole feed” version of why we were in Afghanistan for TWENTY YEARS!!!! was (1) to fight terrorism, (2) improve women’s education and opportunities, and (3) create a nice cosy environment for Afghan’s LGBTQ+ population.
“Despite being one of the poorest nations in the world, Afghanistan may be sitting on one of the richest troves of minerals in the world, valued at nearly $1 trillion, scientists say.Afghanistan, a country nearly the size of Texas, is loaded with minerals deposited by the violent collision of the Indian subcontinent with Asia. The U.S. Geological Survey began inspecting what mineral resources Afghanistan had after U.S.-led forces drove the Taliban from power in the country in 2004.In 2006, U.S. researchers flew airborne missions to conduct magnetic, gravity and hyperspectral surveys over Afghanistan.The aerial surveys determined that Afghanistan may hold 60 million tons of copper, 2.2 billion tons of iron ore, 1.4 million tons of rare earth elements such as lanthanum, cerium and neodymium, and lodes of aluminum, gold, silver, zinc, mercury and lithium. For instance, the Khanneshin carbonatite deposit in Afghanistan’s Helmand province is valued at $89 billion, full as it is with rare earth elements.”
Well, quite simply, the US had a rival, namely China, which decided, as part of its Belt and Road Strategy, to build its own pipeline linking Turkmenistan to China’s vast industrial hinterland. By 2009, Turkmeni natural gas was flowing all the way to Shanghai.
That was the real death knell for Western involvement in Afghanistan, greatly lowering the incentives to stay there year after year.
After 2009, Western involvement increasingly became a question of saving face and protecting political reputations, while also forlornly hoping that the Afghans would turn their backs on the Taliban.
The writing was clearly on the wall, but the Obama Administration thought it was worth a couple more rolls of the dice. That is what led to the pointless troop surges of 2009 and 2010:
Colin Liddell is the Chief Editor of Affirmative Right and the author of Interviews & Obituaries, a collection of encounters with the dead and the famous. Support his work by it here (USA), here (UK), and here (Australia). He is also featured in Arktos’s collection A Fair Hearing: The Alt-Right in the Words of Its Members and Leaders.