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With the Syria crisis dominating headlines, few are paying attention to America's longest war. In fact, the war in Afghanistan has hardly been mentioned in the early months of U.S. President Donald Trump's administration, despite the presence of two experienced military officers – Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster – in key positions. The war in Afghanistan has exacted enormous costs. So far, fatalities include roughly 3,500 coalition soldiers (some 70 percent of which were U.S. troops), about the same number of contractors, and some 100,000 Afghans (including security forces, opposition fighters and civilians). Since 2002, the U.S. has spent over $780 billion on the war – roughly equivalent to the entire U.S. foreign-affairs budget for more than two decades. The war in Afghanistan was supposed to be over a long time ago. Afghanistan has been allowed to fall into an aid trap. The U.S. has disbursed about $110 billion for Afghan reconstruction.
The economics of an Afghan peace is critical to future talks
Afghanistan's reintegration will require both carrots and sticks
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