Here's How Many People Have Died In The Wars In Afghanistan And Iraq

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U.S. Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division return fire during a firefight with Taliban forces in Barawala Kalay Valley in Kunar province, Afghanistan, March 31, 2011
U.S. Army/Pfc. Cameron Boyd

Of the 76 countries in which the U.S. is currently fighting terrorism, at least three have been incredibly deadly: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.


Brown University's Costs of War Project recently released a report detailing just how deadly they've been. It counts how many people have been killed by the "United States' post-9/11 wars" in these three countries.

The report accounts for deaths in Afghanistan and Pakistan between October 2001 and October 2018, and in Iraq between March 2003 and October 2018.

In October 2001, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to defeat the al-Qaeda and the Taliban, but little progress has been made after more than 17 years of war. In March 2003, the US invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussein's regime under the pretense that the regime had weapons of mass destruction, most notably nuclear weapons. The U.S. pulled out in 2011, paving the way for the rise of ISIS and the re-deployment of US troops.

Pakistan is a little murkier. Since 9/11, the U.S. has conducted hundreds of drone strikes in Pakistan and used the country as a military staging area — but Islamabad has been accused of harboring terrorists as well.

The Costs of War report (which compiled data from governments, NGOs, media, and more) notes that the actual number of deaths is low because of the limits documenting death in conflict zones.

"For example, tens of thousands of civilians may have died in retaking Mosul and other cities from ISIS but their bodies have likely not been recovered," the report said.

It also notes that the death toll is only direct deaths — not indirect deaths, such as "loss of access to food, water, health facilities, electricity or other infrastructure."

Here's what they found.

6,951 U.S. military deaths

Iraq: 4,550 deaths.

Afghanistan: 2,401 deaths.

Pakistan: 0 deaths.

There were also 21 civilian DoD deaths, including six in Afghanistan and 15 in Iraq, the Cost of War report notes.

7,820 U.S. contractor deaths.

Iraq: 3,793 deaths.

Afghanistan: 3,937 deaths.

Pakistan: 90 deaths.

109,154 national military and police deaths.

Iraq: 41,726 deaths.

Afghanistan: 58,596 deaths.

Pakistan: 8,832 deaths.

1,464 Allied troop deaths

Iraq: 323 deaths.

Afghanistan: 1,141 deaths.

Pakistan: 0 deaths.

244,124 — 266,427 civilian deaths

Iraq: 182,272 — 204,575 deaths.

Afghanistan: 38,480 deaths.

Pakistan: 23,372 deaths

109,396 — 114,471 opposition fighter deaths

Iraq: 34,806 — 39,881 deaths.

Afghanistan: 42,100 deaths.

Pakistan: 32,490 deaths.

362 journalists and media worker deaths

Iraq: 245 deaths.

Afghanistan: 54 deaths.

Pakistan: 63 deaths

566 humanitarian and NGO worker deaths

Iraq: 62 deaths.

Afghanistan: 409 deaths.

Pakistan: 95 deaths

479,858 — 507,236 total deaths

Iraq: 267,792 — 295,170 deaths.

Afghanistan: 147,124 deaths.

Pakistan: 64,942 deaths.

Read the full report here.

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