NEW YORK — 18 years ago, America experienced its most deadly attack ever on U.S. soil. Four planes were hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon building in Washington D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania. What followed was the global “War on Terror,” including the longest war in U.S. history in Afghanistan.

Numbers don’t adequately convey the pain of sacrifice. They don’t tell the stories of the victims, or of our men and women in uniform. 

But, they can give us some perspective, now that we’re almost two decades into the War on Terror.

The U.S. war in Afghanistan—Operation Enduring Freedom—began less than a month after the September 11th attacks, with airstrikes starting on October 7, 2001.

A F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet strike fighter takes off for a mission over Afghanistan from the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier deployed in the Arabian Sea for operation "Enduring Freedom" Tuesday Sept. 24, 2002. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Two years later, in 2003, the War on Terror broadened to include Operation Iraqi Freedom as well. 

The most recent numbers from the Department of Defense show that:

  • 2,353 people have been killed in Operation Enduring Freedom
  • 4,432 people have been killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom 
Department of Defense stat 1

In addition to the human lives lost, the Department of Defense reports the wars together have cost $1.5 billion as of 2018 (which breaks down to $7,740 per taxpayer).

Department of Defense stat 2

Both President Obama and President Trump have said they wanted to bring the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to an end, but troops are still stationed in both countries.


Contact reporter Rob Harris Follow him onTwitter (@robharristv) andFacebook

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