As America’s $117 billion war in Afghanistan enters its sixteenth year—making it the longest war in U.S. history—conflict casualties have hit an all-time high, calling into question the U.S. strategy in the country, where Taliban terrorists still control a third of the nation and corruption runs rampant.
President Donald Trump will face tough decisions about how to proceed in Afghanistan, where rebuilding projects have repeatedly failed and been hindered by corruption among Afghan nationals and U.S. contractors. Military leaders have already begun calling for an increased U.S. troop presence in the country, which could anger Trump’s voting base.
U.S. taxpayers paid $48 million in the last year alone to fund ammunition for Afghan security personnel, and have paid $32.3 billion total on governance and economic development as of March 2017. The United States has spent more than $11 billion so far on other weapons, communications, aircraft, and vehicles for the struggling Afghan forces. The cost to U.S. taxpayers is unlikely to diminish over the coming years, as Taliban forces continue to control a large number of key territories.
Civilian casualties resulting from the war rose to 11,418 in 2016, the highest total of deaths since international observers began recording such statistics in 2009, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR. The oversight body provided an analysis of the war effort in its latest quarterly report, issued just weeks after the United States dropped one of the largest bombs ever on the country.