The New York Times Subscription
All told, the cost of nearly 18 years of war in Afghanistan will amount to more than $2 trillion. Was the money well spent?
There is little to show for it. The Taliban control much of the country. Afghanistan remains one of the world’s largest sources of refugees and migrants. More than 2,400 American soldiers and more than 38,000 Afghan civilians have died.
Still, life has improved, particularly in the country’s cities, where opportunities for education have grown. Many more girls are now in school. And democratic institutions have been built — although they are shaky at best.
Drawing on estimates from Brown University’s Costs of War Project, we assessed how much the United States spent on different aspects of the war and whether that spending achieved its aims.