FASCINATING FACTS: 32 Interesting Afghanistan War Facts
The War in Afghanistan started on October 7, 2001, in response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. [17]

Since 2001, 2,350 U.S. troops have died in the Afghanistan War. Over 20,092 have been injured.[3]

The War in Afghanistan costs taxpayers $45 billion per year.[14]

Next to the United States, the United Kingdom ranks second in the number of troops lost in Afghanistan with 455.[15]

Children have accounted for 1/3 of all casualties during the Afghanistan War.[10]

Since the beginning of the Afghanistan War in 2001, war-related violence has killed over 31,000 civilians, and 29,000 civilians have been injured. These are just the documented numbers.[6]


The U.S. military budget is the second highest federal budget expense after Social Security.


Since 2001, the United States has spent over $1 trillion in the Afghanistan War.[17]

In 2012, more U.S. soldiers committed suicide in Afghanistan than were killed by enemy fire. In general, suicide—not combat—is the leading killer of U.S. troops deployed in the Middle East.[4]

Since the beginning of the War in Afghanistan, over 111,000 Afghans, including militants, civilians, and soldiers, have been killed. Deaths from indirect causes may account for an additional 360,000 Afghans.[6]

Over 3,600 Afghan civilians were killed in the first three months of the Afghanistan War.[17]

Afghans are currently the second largest refugee group after Syrian refugees. Approximately three out of four Afghans have been displaced internally, externally, or multiple times.[7]

The CIA occasionally offered Viagra to elderly tribal leaders to persuade them to cooperate.[12]

Afghans often drive a supply truck decorated with brightly painted trinkets or tassels hanging from the frame that would jingle. American troops referred to the these trucks as a “jingly” or “jingle truck.”[12]


The Iraqi and Afghan wars have not ‘ended.’ Only America’s involvement has ‘ended.’ … When a country leaves a war before achieving victory it is not called leaving. It is called defeat. … When the decent leave, the indecent win.

– Dennis Prager, Dennis Prager: Volume I


Pat Tillman, a football player who quit a $3.6 million NFL contract to join the U.S. Army, died from friendly fire in the hills of Afghanistan.[12]

Many service members returning from Afghanistan suffer from chronic multisymptom illness (CMI), which was formerly known as Gulf War Syndrome. Symptoms include a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms, such as insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, memory problems, and joint pain.[16]

Even though the United States and its allies ousted the Taliban as the ruling party of Afghanistan, insurgent groups continue to attack U.S. troops, which has helped prolong the conflict.[9]

The Javelin missile used in the War in Afghanistan is so expensive ($75,000) that British soldiers say that when they use them in combat, it’s like “throwing a Porsche at them.”[12]

In an effort to hasten U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the United States government attempted to boost and train the Afghan National Army. However, the Afghan National Army was plagued by corruption, inefficiency, illiteracy, desertification, and betrayal.[9]


As of 2017, the ANA had about 175,000 soldiers—out of an authorized strength of 195,000 (Rockfinder / GettyImages)


After the 9/11 attacks on the United States, President Bush demanded that the Taliban, Afghanistan’s ruling party, extradite Osama bin Laden. Afghanistan refused, citing lack of evidence. The United States responded by launching Operation Enduring Freedom and invaded Afghanistan.[9]

The first CIA team to enter Afghanistan was code-named “Jawbreaker.” It was on the ground and operating in Afghanistan just 15 days after the 2001 attacks, thus technically beginning the Afghanistan War.[9]

British forces invaded Afghanistan alongside the United States in October 2001. Other countries, such as Canada, France, Australia, and Germany, also pledged support and troops.[9]

The first U.S. military casualty to die by enemy fire during the War in Afghanistan was Nathan Ross Chapman. It is unclear who shot Chapman or why.[8]

The War in Afghanistan is the longest War in United States history.[3]


The Afghanistan War has lasted longer than World War I and World War II combined.


Interpreters who worked for the British Army, along with their families, have been killed and tortured in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, as of May 2018, the British government has not resettled any interpreter or his or her family member in the U.K.[2]

Several American soldiers known as the “Kill Team” murdered at least three Afghan civilians in 2010, during the War in Afghanistan. In at least one of the murders, the soldiers kept part of the victim’s skull.[11]

Afghanistan’s lucrative opium market helped fund the Taliban, the Afghanistan War, and global terrorism.[5]

Despite lingering problems in Afghanistan, 80% of all Afghans support the United States’ removal of the Taliban in 2001.[1]


Bales was sentenced to life in prison without parole.


During the Afghanistan War, Staff Sergeant Robert Bales massacred 16 Afghan civilians in March 2012, including some children. Nine of the 16 people were in the same family. At his trial, he said, “I thought I was doing the right thing.”[13]

Only about 44% of Americans support NATO troop presence in Afghanistan.[1]

The War in Afghanistan has sparked worldwide protests, with the deaths of Afghan civilians being the main focus of the protests.[1]

According to Amnesty International, the Tablian committed many war crimes, including targeting civilians, killing aid workers, using white phosphorus, and using civilians as human shields.[1]

The War in Afghanistan has affected the lives of at least 6.3 million people.[9]


1Afghan Futures: A National Public Opinion Survey .” Langar Research Associates, acsor-surveys.com. January 29, 2015. Accessed: July 29, 2018.

2Afghan Interpreters’ Scheme Utter Failure, Say MPs.” BBC News, May 26, 2018. Accessed: July 29, 2018.

3Amadeo, Kimberly. “Afghanistan War Cost, Timeline, and Economic Impact.” The Balance. July 11, 2018. Accessed: July 27, 2018.

4Brook, Tom Vanden. “Suicide Kills More U.S. Troops than ISIL in Middle East.” USA Today, December 29, 2016. Accessed: July 28, 2018.

5Chouvy, Pierre-Arnaud. Opium: Uncovering the Politics of the Poppy. Boston: Harvard University Press, 2010.

6Crawford, Neta C. “Update on the Human Costs of War for Afghanistan.” Brown University, Watson Institute. August 2016. Accessed: July 28, 2018.

7Duenwald, Christoph, and Farid Talishli.” Return of Afghan Refugees to Afghanistan Surges as Country Copes to Rebuild.” International Monetary Fund: IMF News. January 26, 2017. Accessed: July 28, 2018.

8Gibbons-Neff, Thomas. “After 13 Years, CIA Honors Green Beret Killed on Secret Afghanistan Mission.” Washington Post, April 17, 2016. Accessed: July 20, 2018.

9Goodson, Larry. Afghanistan’s Endless War. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001.

10Gossman, Patricia. “Afghanistan’s War Takes Horrific Toll on Its Children.” Dispatches. Accessed: July 27, 2018.

11Hersh, Seymour. “The ‘Kill Team’ Photographs.” The New Yorker, March 22, 2011. Accessed: July 29, 2018.

12Jacob, Mark, and Stephan Benzkofer. “10 Things You Might Not Know about the Afghan War.” Chicago Tribune, April 22, 2012. Accessed: July 28, 2018.

13Londoño, Ernesto. “U.S. Soldier Charged in Kandahar Massacre Showed No Remorse, Comrade Says.” Washington Post, November 5, 2012. Accessed: July 29, 2018.

14Pennington, Matthew. “Pentagon Says the War in Afghanistan Costs Taxpayers $45 Billion per Year.” PBS News Hour, February 6, 2018. Accessed: July 27, 2018.

15Rafferty, Andrew. “The War in Afghanistan: By the Numbers.” NBC News, April 22, 2017. Accessed: July 27, 2018.

16Spotswood, Stephen. “So-Called ‘Gulf War Syndrome’ Also Affecting Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans.” U.S. Medicine. March 5, 2013. Accessed: July 28, 2018.

17Wescott, Ben. “Afghanistan: 16 Years, Thousands Dead and No Clear End in Sight.” CNN, October 31, 2017. Accessed: July 27, 2018.


Please wait...

And Now... A Few Links From Our Sponsors