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August 24, 2021 - U.S. governments financed the war in Afghanistan by borrowing rather than raising taxes or issuing war bonds. After 20 years of conflict, the nation’s taxpayers now face interest payments of $530 billion.
Paying for the staggering $2.26 trillion costs of the Afghan conflict will be borne by generations of U.S. citizens.
According to the Brown University Costs of War Project data, the human cost of the now-ending U.S. combat mission claimed the lives of between 239,000 and 242,000 people in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan.
American service members killed through April reached 2,442, with an additional 3,936 U.S. contractors. A further 1,144 allied troops also lost their lives during nearly 20 years of occupation.
Afghan and Pakistani national military and police lost 75,300 members, while more than 71,000 civilians died. Eighty-four thousand opposition fighters also perished in the conflict.
U.S. President Harry Truman temporarily raised top tax rates to pay for Korean War, as did President Lyndon Johnson during the Vietnam War.
However, at the outset of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, President George W. Bush cut tax rates for the wealthiest and fought the war on credit.
According to Heidi Peltier, Director of the “20 Years of War” Project at Boston University, the cumulative interest owed by the U.S. taxpayer will continue to rise.
The actual cost of the interest payments for debt the U.S. incurred between 2001 and 2021 will surge to $2.14 trillion by 2030 and triple to more than $6.42 trillion by 2050.
These interest payments are almost one-third of the nation’s current gross domestic product of $21.4 trillion.