The actual number of American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan is probably over double the official numbers provided by the Pentagon. At least according to University studies, non-profit anti-war groups, the Washington Post, Business Insider, and others.
For the past twenty years, the Pentagon has played a game with the American public. They disproportionately use mercenaries, referred to as “independent contractors,” in combat instead of regular US soldiers. The most well-known company used is Academi, formerly known as Blackwater.
Most of these contractors are American veterans. However, an unknown number are non-US citizens. Many served in Iraq or Afghanistan as enlisted men in the US military. Then they joined a private security company after leaving the US military. The Pentagon hires them as a private contractor to go back and do the same kind of job, but for double or triple the pay. Allegedly, a rapidly growing percentage of US contractors are not US citizens.
If killed, they are not counted as a US combat death in any official Pentagon statistics released to the public.
There is also a significant question about whether or not the US is pulling all contractors out of Afghanistan. Joe Biden has personally refused to answer this question (probably because he can’t remember), and no one else in his administration will answer either.
In December of 2019, the Washington Post declared that more US contractors had perished in Afghanistan than all official coalition deaths put together. They placed US contractor deaths at 3,814. The Pentagon’s official death toll is about 2,400 “US servicemen.” The combined official total of US service members plus coalition partner deaths is about 3,500.
For years, there have been allegations that Academi and other US security companies are negotiating with the Afghan government directly. There are theories that the Biden administration is secretly plotting to keep the War going. But his administration will privatize it completely. US contractors would be employed by the Afghan government while being paid by US military aid to that government.
Americans would still be fighting. Americans would still be paying for it. The Pentagon will be able to say no “US servicemen” are dying.
Since 2001, the United States has given Afghanistan $141 Billion in aid. These funds have been roughly 65% military aid and 35% civilian aid. Support peaked at $13 Billion for 2009 but waned to $5 Billion in 2019. Nevertheless, according to Forbes, 75% of the entire 2019 budget of the Afghan government came from this American aid. Trump wanted to cut aid even further, but Biden has moved to restore it. A few months ago, Biden pledged to restore $300 million to the funds the Afghan government will receive in 2021. This was money the Trump administration cut from the budget.
At the beginning of 2021, Bloomberg Magazine claimed the Pentagon still had 16,000 contractors in Afghanistan, more than the total number of US enlisted men. Like I mentioned before, no one in the Biden administration is commenting about the current status of these contractors.