$280 million U.S. program meant to empower Afghan women flops

Afghan women sitting together at a meeting.
Afghan women at a women's rights event. Photo: Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images

A $280 million U.S. program, created to help empower women in Afghanistan, has been a "failure and a waste of taxpayers' money," according to government oversight group Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the New York Times reports.

The big picture: USAID's program, Promote, was expected to help 75,000 Afghan women enter the workforce. The report listed 55 women that have been promoted into better jobs as one of the program's few successes. The head of SIGAR, John Sopko, told the Times the group couldn't "find any good data that they're helping any women." USAID disagreed, saying Promote has "directly benefited 50,000 Afghan women."

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

A US Marine in a military camp in Afghanistan. Photo: Wakil Kohsar WAKIL/AFP/Getty Images
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.