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Afghanistan War Anniversary Marks 12 Years Of Conflict

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2008: U.S. soldiers board an Army Chinook transport helicopter.
2008: U.S. soldiers board an Army Chinook transport helicopter.

The war in Afghanistan officially began 12 years today. To put it in perspective, the last time we didn't have boots on the ground in Afghanistan, Obama was still an Illinois state senator, the first iPhone was six years away from release and "Friends" was still on the air.

In the past 12 years, at least 2,146 members of the U.S. military have died while serving in Afghanistan. This figure includes four American soldiers who were killed by an IED explosion in the south of the country on Sunday.

A recent study found that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will end up costing taxpayers between $4 trillion to $6 trillion. Unsurprisingly, most Americans think their tax dollars have been wasted.

A June poll found that over two-thirds of Americans think the war in Afghanistan wasn't worth the cost.

As the conflict drags on, tensions between Afghans and international soldiers of the NATO coalition have only gotten worse. According to the Economist, one in seven of all NATO servicemember deaths this year "has been at the hands of the very Afghan troops the coalition is trying to help and train."

In August, an Afghan soldier opened fire on his Australian colleagues at a military base, killing three. In September, three NATO troops were killed by a man wearing an Afghan army uniform. A contracted security guard shot an American NATO member dead on Saturday.

As was detailed in a piece posted on Mother Jones, rebuilding efforts in the country have also proved less successful than hoped. Half of the schools the U.S. has claimed to have built in Afghanistan have no actual buildings. Women pursuing their own careers continue to be assassinated. Health care in the country leaves much to be desired.

Despite the rising costs and increasing casualties, the U.S. still doesn't have a definitive plan for complete withdrawal. Talks between the two countries to reach a security pact have stalled over what Afghan President Hamid Karzai called a violation of the country's sovereignty. The Associated Press reports that in absence of a deal, there are indications that the U.S. may pull out all of its troops in 2014.

Let us know what you think of the war in Afghanistan in the comments below.

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