The War in Afghanistan Has Cost Over $2.26 Trillion

Brown University's Costs of War project estimated that the US war has killed over 241,000 people in Afghanistan and Pakistan

The US government has spent over $2.26 trillion on its failed war in Afghanistan, according to the latest numbers from Brown University’s Costs of War Project. The report also estimates that the war has directly killed 241,000 people in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The $2.26 trillion in spending was broken down into five categories. The single greatest expense was $933 billion, which was covered by the Defense Department’s Overseas Contingency Operations Budget. The second-highest cost is the estimated interest accrued by borrowing money for the war, which accounts for $530 billion.

The Pentagon’s base budget saw increases over the years for the war in Afghanistan that accounts for the third-highest expense at $443 billion. Care for veterans of the war comes in fourth at $296 billion, a number that will continue to rise for decades to come. The State Department’s budget for Afghanistan comes in fifth at $59 billion.

The report estimates that out of the 241,000 people killed by the war, 71,344 were civilians, including 47,245 in Afghanistan and 24,099 in Pakistan. The numbers do not account for indirect deaths due to conditions caused by the war, like loss of access to food, disease, or infrastructure damage.

The updated report comes after President Biden said he would withdraw troops from Afghanistan by September 11th, although it’s not clear if there will be a continued presence of US contractors or special forces. Either way, the cost of the war will continue to rise. Besides the veteran care and future interest payments, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the US plans to continue “paying salaries” for the Afghan military.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.