What Is the Longest Lasting War in American History?

The United States has been involved in many conflicts throughout its history, but what is the longest lasting war in American history? Many people may be surprised to learn that it is not the Vietnam War or even World War II, but rather a conflict that has been ongoing for over 18 years – the War in Afghanistan.

Background on the War in Afghanistan

The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, shortly after the terrorist attacks on September 11th. The purpose of the war was to dismantle al-Qaeda and remove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan, as they provided a safe haven for terrorists. The initial invasion involved a coalition of forces led by the United States, which quickly overthrew the Taliban government.

However, despite initial success, the conflict soon turned into a protracted insurgency against foreign forces and the Afghan government. The Taliban regrouped and began using guerrilla tactics such as suicide bombings and IEDs. The conflict has been ongoing ever since.

The Length of the War

As of 2020, the War in Afghanistan has been ongoing for over 18 years. This makes it not only the longest lasting war in American history but also one of the longest wars in world history.

Despite efforts by multiple administrations to end the conflict through negotiations with various Taliban factions, peace talks have stalled and violence continues to plague Afghanistan.

The Cost of War

The cost of the War in Afghanistan has been staggering. According to a report by Brown University’s Costs of War Project, it has cost over $2 trillion dollars since its inception. This includes not only military spending but also long-term health care costs for veterans and interest on borrowed money used to fund the war.

In addition to financial costs, there have also been significant human costs. Over 2,400 U.S. service members have died as well as over 3,500 coalition troops. The number of Afghan civilians killed is estimated to be in the tens of thousands.

The Future of the War

Despite efforts to negotiate a peace deal, the future of the War in Afghanistan remains uncertain. The Taliban continues to launch attacks against Afghan security forces and civilians, and the U. has announced plans to withdraw some troops but maintain a presence in the country.

The conflict has had far-reaching implications not only for Afghanistan but also for U. foreign policy and national security. It is a reminder that even with overwhelming military might, wars can be difficult to win and that the costs can be devastating.


In conclusion, the War in Afghanistan is not only the longest lasting war in American history but also a conflict that continues to impact Afghanistan, the United States, and the world at large. Its length and cost are reminders of the challenges inherent in modern warfare and the need for diplomacy and international cooperation to resolve conflicts peacefully.