A statue of Saddam Hussein being brought down following the US invasion in 2003
A statue of Saddam Hussein being brought down following the US invasion in 2003

US News

The War On Terror Has Cost 500,000 Lives, US Study Reveals

Written By Aishwaria Sonavane | Mumbai | Published:


  • The War on Terror has cost half a million lives in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, including those of US soldiers, as per a report
  • A majority of the casualties have resulted from even more terrorism

The War on Terror that broke out in the wake of 9/11 and continues to this day has led to the deaths of around half a million people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, including US soldiers, according to a recent study. 

The report published by the Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs brings to the fore that 480,000 to 507,000 lives were lost. This tally is an imperfect estimate of the human toll of the 17-year-long ongoing war, which just as frequently measured in terms of its monetary cost.

The death-toll includes armed fighters, local police officials, security forces, civilians and the troops of the United States and their allies. 

The report states that in Iraq, between 182,272 and 204,575 civilians were killed. While 38,480 in Afghanistan and 23,372 in Pakistan. At the same time, 7,000 United States troops were killed during the invasion in Afghanistan and Iraq at the same time. 

The paper suggests that the United Nations is making an effort to make a record of the casualties of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

A point of note here is that it is not active warfare that has caused the most casualties. Rather, it is even more terrorism, especially the kind that has grown in light of the vacuum created by regimes being toppled, such as ISIS in Iraq. Nevertheless, the report adds that the US Department of Defence has lagged in reporting civilian casualties in United States-led operations post 9/11. 

As per the reports in July 2016, the Presidential Executive Order on Measures to Address Civilian Casualties stated that the protection of civilians is fundamentally consistent with the effective, efficient, and decisive use of force in pursuit of U.S. national interests. Minimizing civilian casualties can further mission objectives; help maintain the support of partner governments and vulnerable populations, especially in the conduct of counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency operations; and enhance the legitimacy and sustainability of U.S. operations critical to our national security.

The study also suggests that the number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan in 2018 has been one of the highest war casualties. The United States war in Afghanistan was their longest military invasion continuing since 2001.