May 12, 2021 – Western allies of the United States have borne significant costs in the post-9/11 wars, in terms of both lives and dollars. A new report released today documents the human and financial contributions of U.S. allies in the post-9/11 wars and argues that such costs must be included in any full accounting of the consequences of these wars. 

The report’s key findings indicate that, besides the United States, the top five countries to send troops to the war in Afghanistan were the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Canada. The United Kingdom in particular supplied roughly two to three times the troops of the other top contributing allies when considered relative to its population. The top contributing allies lost over a thousand lives in the U.S.-led conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. British and Canadian troops put their lives at risk at twice the rate of American troops, when seen as a percentage of each country’s peak deployment. 

When measured as a percentage of their annual baseline military expenditures, the United Kingdom and Canada spent roughly half as much on Afghanistan as the United States. And when measured in terms relative to their respective Gross Domestic Products (GDPs), the U.S. provided less foreign aid than did the U.K., and about the same amount as Germany and Canada.

The new study finds that allies’ primary interest in making their significant contributions was not their own security, but cementing their relationships with the U.S. 

Dr. Jason Davidson, lead researcher for this report, says, “When U.S. policymakers count the costs of the post-9/11 wars, they must include the price paid by key allies that deployed troops, lost service members, and spent tax dollars on wars that were of little concern to their own national security.”