The longest war in American history came to a close on Sunday, marked by a ceremony in Kabul 13 years after it started in 2001 following the terrorist attacks on September 11 of that year.
“Resolute Support will serve as the bedrock of an enduring partnership” between NATO and Afghanistan, said General John Campbell, commander of the International Security Assistance Force at the ceremony. He furled the ISAF flag and unfurled the “Resolute Support” flag, denoting the beginning of the new international mission, which will focus more on supporting Afghan troops that have faced a growing insurgency in recent weeks.
The decision to officially end the war, announced back in May, does not mean that there will be no U.S. or foreign troops on Afghan soil by any stretch of the imagination. In 2015 and 2016 the already-reduced levels of troops will drop by half, consolidating around Kabul and Bagram Air Force Base, and finally down to normal Embassy staff.
Here are some numbers to provide a sense of scope to the war’s impact, longevity, toll, and effect:
13: number of years the war lasted, making this the longest war in American history
140,000: highest number of U.S. troops present in the country, in 2010, during the surge begun at President Obama’s behest
13,500: number of international troops that will stay in country for Resolute Support, including roughly 10,800 U.S. troops (a number that will continue to fall through 2015 and 2016), and 1,000 more than planned earlier this year
38,000: number of U.S. forces that were in Afghanistan at the beginning of 20142,224: the number of U.S. troops, according to an AP tally, who were killed in Afghanistan during the war, with more than 1,000 international coalition troops killed
17,674: estimated number of U.S. troops wounded during Operation Enduring Freedom, according to the website iCasualties.org
21,000: estimate number of Afghan civilians killed since 2001 as a result of “crossfire, improvised explosive devices, assassination, bombing, and night raids into houses of suspected insurgents,” according to the website Costs of War
90: percentage of troops that are now home from Iraq and Afghanistan from the 180,000 that were in both countries when President Obama took office, according to a White House statement noting that 15,000 troops remain
747,000: estimated number of weapons the U.S. provided to the Afghan National Security Forces, many of which experts say have gone missing, prompting worries they will be used in escalating insurgency attacks by Taliban fighters
3,380: estimated number of people who died in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, including those on the hijacked planes, first responders, and victims in the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon
35: number of years since the Marxist revolution, which essentially kicked off a near-constant period of brutal civil conflict
69: the number of women in Afghanistan’s parliament, which is proportionately more than the number in the U.S. Congress. To be fair, when written, their constitution set a quota of at least 27 percent female representation in parliament, a quota that was recently revised to 20 percent.
3 million: approximate number of girls who are now enrolled in school, while under the Taliban, virtually no girls attended school — and USAID helped to train 25,000 female teachers
1: the ranking Afghanistan received when Thomson Reuters released its list of most dangerous countries for women in 2011
9: the percentage of women who die in childbirth in Afghanistan
4,000: approximate number of midwives, up from less than 500 under Taliban rule — and half of the new ones were trained by USAID-supported programs
7 million: approximate number of Afghan voters took part in last June’s presidential elections
46: number of people (20 civilians, 26 Afghan troops) who were killed due to attacks on Election Day
68: number of private television channels, not including 23 state and provincial networks — though journalists face many threats from security forces and religious entities
9.4: percentage of Afghans who have internet access, according to a 2013 Ministry of Information report
3.3 million: new Afghan customers linked to 172 megawatts of new electricity on the nation’s grid — a six to twenty-eight percent jump in the number of Afghans with access to reliable power
34 million: amount, in dollars the U.S. spent trying, unsuccessfully, to provide Afghan farmers with soybeans as a new cash crop option
63.7 billion: dollars appropriated to “overseas contingency operations” in Iraq and Afghanistan for the coming year in the latest appropriations bill passed by Congress, including $2.9 billion for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense
62: percent drop in child mortality since 2002; infant mortality ecreased 53 percent