Afghanistan war
We launched Operation Enduring Freedom on October 7, 2001 to avenge the attacks on our World Trade Center and Pentagon a month earlier. While in Afghanistan rooting out Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, we got sidetracked and spent the next 8 years capturing Saddam Hussein and rebuilding war-torn Iraq. By the end of 2011, we had left Iraq and dispatched Bin Laden and much of the Al-Qaeda leadership, but we are still conducting military operations in this inhospitable country. More than 6,800 American troops, and nearly the same number of contractors, have been killed fighting these wars. More than 52,000 troops have also been wounded, and more than 875,000 war veterans have joined the disability rolls so far. These statistics do not include the many suicides committed by military personnel, the estimated 250,000 civilian casualties, or the $4 trillion these wars have cost our Treasury.

Before ending the Afghanistan War, the Obama administration signed an agreement with the new Afghan government which allows 9,800 American troops to be stationed in Afghanistan until the end of 2016. The stated purpose of leaving these troops behind is to train and support the Afghan security forces. However, the pact also calls for our Special Operations forces to conduct counterterrorism missions against the Taliban. Proponents of leaving a contingent of troops in this country say we should fully train, equip and support Afghan security forces so they are able to protect their government, and ensure this country will not again be used to attack us. Critics say there is no purpose in leaving troops behind, except to turn a prolonged war into an indefinite one – claiming the training of native security forces will not ensure Afghan security. They point to the failure of 900,000 well-equipped Iraqi soldiers, most of which we trained over the course of many years, to avoid being overrun by fewer than 50,000 lightly-armed ISIS fighters in 2014. In a recent change of strategy, President Obama has now announced plans to indefinitely station 5,500 combat troops in Afghanistan.

Pending Legislation:
H.R.2376 - Cost of War Act of 2015

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February 13, 2020
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February 19, 2020

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