DENVER (KDVR) – The U.S. military commitment in Afghanistan is ending with the Middle Eastern country rapidly falling under Taliban control after two decades of conflict and trillions of dollars spent.
Just over 2,300 American service members’ lives were lost in the 20-year conflict, which was bookended by the 9/11 attacks and President Joe Biden’s withdrawal of American troops from the country.
Casualties in Afghanistan come from two official military operations: Operation Enduring Freedom, a globe-spanning conflict that lasted from late 2001 until 2014, and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, which continued operations in Afghanistan until the present.
Between the two, the U.S. Department of Defense recorded 2,443 military deaths. About 95% of those deaths, 2,311, happened from incidents in Afghanistan.
Fighting in Afghanistan reached its peak between 2009 and 2012. These three years accounted for 1,500 U.S. deaths.
The conflict had cooled significantly after Operation Enduring Freedom concluded at the end of 2014 and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel began. Since then, there were only 92 U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan.
American military personnel from every single U.S. state and territory were killed in the 20 years of military operations in Afghanistan.
Highly populated states had commensurately high numbers of fallen soldiers.
More Californians, Texans and Floridians died than in other states. There were 249 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines from California who died in Afghanistan, 188 Texans and 147 Floridians.
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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs sent an email to soldiers who survived the conflict and are now watching the withdrawal to let them know “you are not alone.”
The email continued:
Veterans may question the meaning of their service or whether it was worth the sacrifices they made. They may feel more moral distress about experiences they had during their service. It’s normal to feel this way. Talk with your friends and families, reach out to battle buddies, connect with a peer-to-peer network, or sign up for mental health services. Scroll down for a list common reactions and coping advice.
See the full list of resources and guidance on the Veterans Affairs website.