A photo from the last day of the evacuation of Americans from Afghanistan was widely published on the Internet. A photograph showing the last American soldier leaving the territory of Afghanistan, which has become a symbol.
The symbol of the defeat of the United States?
All media, as well as Internet users, share a photo of the last American soldier to leave Afghanistan. Many commentators describe this image as a symbol of the end of the war in a country controlled by the Taliban.
The longest war in the history of the United States
With the evacuation completed and the last US troops withdrawn from Afghanistan, the longest war in US history ended on Tuesday. The 20-year conflict has claimed more than 160,000 lives. People on both sides of the conflict cost more than $2 trillion.
Tuesday is the first day since October 2001 that there is not a single American soldier on the soil of Afghanistan. The war in Afghanistan, which was launched in response to the 9/11 attacks, began with the invasion and overthrow of the Taliban regime that harbored the terrorists and ended with their return to power and control over the largest area of the country ever. .
The exact balance sheet of the dispute is not known exactly. According to the Brown University project to track and estimate all victims of the conflict, the death toll exceeds 165,000, of which about 66,000 are members of the Afghan security forces, 51.1 thousand – Taliban and other anti-government forces 47.2 thousand – Afghan civilians, 2,365 US soldiers, 3,846 contract civilian workers , 1144 soldiers of the international coalition ISAF, including 44 Poles, as well as 444 employees of non-governmental organizations. In total, more than 800,000 people served in Afghanistan. American soldiers.
At least 2.5 million refugees have left the country.
The vast majority of casualties among US and coalition soldiers occurred in the first decade of the war. In 2014, President Barack Obama officially declared the end of the war and the U.S. military mission, and began the process of troop drawdown and transfer of defense responsibility to Afghan forces. In practice, however, they are still largely dependent on American support, even though Afghan forces are beginning to record the most casualties.
The high cost of the mission in Afghanistan
The US military intervention in Afghanistan was associated with a huge cost to America, not only in terms of the number of dead soldiers, but also in terms of wounded – more than 20.6 thousand. In addition, according to Brown University estimates, their number reaches more than 30,000 soldiers and veterans committed suicide in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The economic cost has also been significant – according to the 2021 report of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), only $837 billion was spent on the war alone, and an additional 145 billion was spent on Afghanistan reconstruction projects. Meanwhile, according to Brown’s estimates, the total cost of the engagement was $2.26 trillion.
Yes. $83 billion cost to arm and train the Afghan army.
It is undeniable that this war was a great waste
– Colonel. Christopher Kolinda, a veteran and former advisor to the Pentagon chief and US leaders, is currently an expert at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) think tank.
This isn’t even a personal assessment – it’s actually a formal assessment featured in subsequent SIGAR reports
„The whole picture is dark.
The latest 11th report from SIGAR, an institution established to oversee US efforts in Afghanistan, published in August, notes, among other things: the lack of clear strategy and goals for the US presence throughout the war, inconsistent actions of the civilian and military components of the mission, corruption, and weak forces Afghani built by the United States.
The withdrawal process showed the emptiness of the alleged progress (building the Afghan army)
– says the doc.
If the goal is to rebuild and leave a country that can survive while being a minor threat to the national security interests of the United States, the overall picture is bleak.
– We read the conclusions you reached before the Taliban took control of the country.
However, the document states that during the American presence, progress has been made in the field of human rights and the standard of living, which is reflected, among other things, in an increase in life expectancy or a decrease in child mortality.
„We wasted a lot of time, money and blood.”
According to official statistics, the United States and its coalition partners have trained more than 300 thousand people. Afghan soldiers. However, as the SIGAR report notes, the numbers have been artificially “inflated” as a way by Afghan leaders to raise US money from soldiers’ salaries.
Throughout the war, we were unable to develop institutions that would produce a capable cadre of leaders
– admitted in an interview with PAP expert at the CNA Research Center Jonathan Schrodin, who has visited Afghanistan several times and prepared, among other things, reports for the Pentagon about the situation in the country.
No matter how long we’re going to be in the country, whether it’s another year or 10, that won’t change much. We wasted a lot of time, money and blood
Ultimately, our presence in Afghanistan prolonged the civil war and its casualties
Colonel Kolinda agrees.
If there is anything positive about how quickly the Taliban won, it has avoided further casualties and destruction in the cities
mm / PAP
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