That cost continues, in both money and lives.
One American is killed every day in Afghanistan, on average, this year.
In a time of budget-cutting, the US treasury spends $60 billion a month on the war. On an annual basis, that’s enough to buy groceries for every American family for more than a year and a half.
“At some level, when you make a decision to continue waging a war, losing lives and money, you make a decision that hopefully what you can get in exchange for that is worth it,” says Stephen Biddle, professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University and a former adviser to retired Gen. David Petraeus.
“At some point it will reach the point where what we get is no longer worth American lives.”
Analysts point out that the bulk of the war is already slated to end in 2014. After that, some American advisers will stay on the ground. But with the spate of “insider attacks” on US forces, the joint Afghan-American patrols that are a key part of the training mission have been suspended, deemed too dangerous to risk American lives.