Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Costs of War

US & Allied Killed and Wounded

Over 6,800 American service members have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their deaths have affected a large community of parents, spouses, children, siblings, and friends. Afghan, Iraqi, and other allied military and police deaths have also been extensive.

Hundreds of thousands more United States and allied service members have been wounded in combat or have died indirectly as a result of injuries sustained in the war zones. The US military suicide rate, historically low, has climbed significantly since 2004, as have injuries and deaths among non-deployed personnel. Data on these deaths is frequently fragmentary, incomplete, or difficult for researchers to access.

Thousands of private contractors have also died in the wars while providing logistical and security support to US troops. The US government does not thoroughly report contractor deaths, their families are often not compensated for their deaths and injuries, and contractor health care is generally substandard. Foreign workers for US contracting firms often do not have their deaths recorded or compensated.  

A host of contractors and US State Department and other government employees remain in Iraq, working as security guards, translators, and trainers of Iraqi troops on the use of US weapons systems. The number of contractors in these roles is increasing as the US sends a growing number of uniformed troops back to Iraq to fight the Islamic State.


Key Findings

  • Over 6,800 US troops have died, as have approximately 7,000 contractors.

  • Over 970,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veteran disability claims have been registered with the VA.

  • By conservative estimate, approximately 43,000 allied troops and police have died, and over 75,000 have been wounded.

Recommendations 

  • The Pentagon and US State Department should record and make public all deaths and injuries in the war zones, including those of US troops, contractors (US and foreign citizens), civilians, and opposition fighters.

  • The Pentagon and the VA should expand their tracking of war-related post-deployment deaths (including suicides), injuries, and illnesses of service members regardless of whether they receive VA treatment.

  • These data should be consolidated, methodologically transparent, and easily accessible. ¬†

(Page updated as of April 2015)