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US agency says rebuilding Afghanistan cost thousands of lives

Traveling by helicopter over Kandahar province, Afghanistan. (USACE Photo by Karla Marshall/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Reconstruction and stabilization activities in Afghanistan have left 5,135 people killed or injured during a period of 17 years following the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Taliban, according to a new report by a U.S. government watchdog.

The report released late on February 11 by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) found that 2,214 people have been killed in largely U.S.-led projects to rebuild the country.

SIGAR, which monitors the billions of dollars Washington spends in the war-ravaged country, said the deaths were the result of Taliban and other militant attacks from 2002 through 2018.

Another 2,291 people were wounded in projects from infrastructure construction to building schools across Afghanistan.

The survey also identifies 1,182 individuals who were either kidnapped or went missing.

More than 70 percent of those killed or injured and about 86 percent of those kidnapped were Afghans, mostly civilians, according to the report titled The Human Cost Of Reconstruction.

The deaths included 284 Americans, both civilian and military.

The majority of casualties occurred during the height of the reconstruction efforts between 2008 and 2011, the report shows.