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Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

The issue:

President Trump will have to decide this month whether to reboot the United States' war against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The facts:
  • The duration: The war in Afghanistan kicked off in October 2001. By 2011, there were just under 100,000 U.S. troops on the ground. Now, just 8,400 troops remain in an advisory and counterterrorism role, continuing the longest war in U.S. history.
  • The casualties: 2,393 American troops have died, though just 37 of those deaths have come over the two-and-a-half years since withdrawal. Additionally, 24,841 civilians have died since 2009 — when the UN began systematically documenting civilian casualties in Afghanistan.
  • The cost: Tough to pin down. A recent study calculated the combined costs of Afghanistan and Iraq at just under $5 trillion. Another report estimated that the annual cost per troop in Afghanistan averaged $1.186 million.
  • The state of play: The American commander in Iraq told Congress in February that the remaining Afghanistan force faced a "shortfall of a few thousand" troops in a continued "stalemate" against the Taliban, which is now allegedly assisted by Russia.
Why it matters:

If Trump sends more troops to Afghanistan, he risks prolonging one of the longest and costliest conflicts in U.S. history.

Go deeper

Updated 12 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump departs on final Air Force One flight

President Trump and his family took off on Air Force One at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the final time en route to Florida.

The big picture: Trump's final hours as president were punctuated by his decisions to snub his successor's inauguration and grant pardons to many of his allies who have been swept up in corruption scandals.

Inauguration Day dashboard

Screenshot: Fox News

President Trump has left the White House en route to a farewell event at Andrews Air Force Base, kicking off the day that will culminate with President-elect Joe Biden taking office.

What's next: The inaugural celebration for young Americans is being livestreamed, starting at 10am.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen said all the right things to reassure the markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Treasury Secretary nominee and former Fed chair Janet Yellen's confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday showed markets just what they can expect from the administration of President-elect Joe Biden: more of what they got under President Trump — at least for now.

What it means: Investors and big companies reaped the benefits of ultralow U.S. interest rates and low taxes for most of Trump's term as well as significant increases in government spending, even before the coronavirus pandemic.