The Afghanistan and Iraq wars have been two of the most controversial military conflicts in recent history. While they share some similarities, there are also key differences between the two. This blog post will explore some of those differences.
What is Afghanistan War?
- Afghanistan War is a conflict that began in 2001 when the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban regime, which had supported the al-Qaeda terrorist group responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States.
- The war has resulted in the death of over 2,000 coalition troops and tens of thousands of Afghan civilians. Despite the enormous cost in blood and treasure, the war appears no closer to being won than it was when it began.
- Afghanistan remains a dangerous place, and the Taliban continue to wage an insurgency against the Kabul government and its foreign backers. The Afghanistan War is sometimes called “America’s Forgotten War” because it receives relatively little attention from the news media and the public compared to other conflicts such as the Iraq War.
- Nevertheless, it remains an important part of America’s global counterterrorism effort and will likely continue for many years to come.
What is Iraq War?
- The Iraq War was a protracted armed conflict that began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition that overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein.
- The conflict continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government. An estimated 151,000 to 600,000 Iraqis were killed in the first 3–4 years of conflict.
- In 2009, U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq amid an increase in violence linked to the insurgent group known as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). ISI had been active in Iraq since 2004 but increased its attacks after the U.S. withdrawal, capturing territory in western Iraq and declaring a caliphate in 2014.
- In response to the ISI advances, a U.S.-led international coalition began conducting airstrikes against ISI targets in Iraq and Syria in 2014. The following year, ground troops from a number of countries began deployment to Iraq and Syria to fight ISI and support local forces pursuing ISIS.
- The Iraq War caused significant financial damage to Iraq, including over $200 billion in direct war costs and $130 billion in indirect costs such as damage to infrastructure and long-term medical care for Iraqi war veterans.
Difference between Afghanistan and Iraq War
Afghanistan and Iraq War are two wars that the United States have been involved in the past two decades. Afghanistan War started on October 7, 2001, just a month after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The main goals of the war were to overthrow the Taliban government, which was sheltering Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist group, and to find and destroy any weapons of mass destruction that might be in Afghanistan. The Iraq War started on March 19, 2003. The primary justification for the war was that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and was refusing to allow international inspectors to verify compliance with UN disarmament Resolution 687. In both Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States military has used a combination of air strikes, ground troops, special forces, and diplomatic pressure to achieve its objectives.
The Iraq War was waged in order to overthrow Saddam Hussein, while the Afghanistan War is being fought to remove the Taliban from power. There are also significant differences between how each war is being conducted. The Iraq War has been marked by a high number of civilian casualties, as well as allegations of torture and abuse by American troops. In contrast, the Afghanistan War has seen significantly fewer civilian casualties, due in part to the use of precision-guided munitions. Furthermore, the United States has had more success in recruiting allies for the Afghanistan War than it did for the Iraq War.