Sep 10, 2018

By the numbers: U.S. has spent over $1.5 trillion on wars since 9/11

A military camp in Afghanistan. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria following the September 11 attacks have cost American taxpayers more than $1.5 trillion, CNBC reports, citing a Defense Department report.

Key figure: The war in Afghanistan, America's longest war, cost the most at $134.3 billion. Defense Secretary James Mattis, who arrived in Kabul last Friday, is seeking to restart long-moribund peace talks with the Taliban.

By the numbers: The three current military actions — Operation Freedom's Sentinel in Afghanistan, Operation Inherent Resolve in Syria and Iraq, and Operation Noble Eagle for homeland security missions in the U.S. and Canada — have cost the country more than $185 billion of the total amount.

  • Noble Eagle's military operation has accounted for $27.7 billion, and Inherent Resolve has cost $23.5 billion.
  • The money is used to cover expenses such as troops’ salary, training and military equipment.

State of play: According to the AP, there are almost 15,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan supporting combat against the Taliban. Roughly 2,000 are in Syria, working with the Syrian Defense Forces or providing support to local militias battling ISIS, per USA Today.

  • The AP also reports that there are approximately 5,200 troops in Iraq.
  • Meanwhile, Al Qaeda is gaining ground in the Middle East and North Africa, the Los Angeles Times reports, a move that would force the U.S. and other allies to stay longer and bolster their military operations there.

Go deeper

Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and South Korea ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 38 mins ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."

Situational awareness

Warren Buffett. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Warren Buffett releases annual letter, reassures investors about future of Berkshire Hathaway
  2. Greyhound bars immigration sweeps
  3. U.S. military officially stops offensive operations in Afghanistan
  4. America's future looks a lot like Nevada
  5. Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins