FactCheck

U.S. Spent Much More in Afghan War Than in Support for Ukraine So Far, Contrary to Online Claim

Quick Take  

The U.S. spent more than $849 billion in the 20-year war in Afghanistan and has spent about $113 billion to support Ukraine since Russia invaded in 2022. But a video on social media falsely claims that the aid for Ukraine is “double the U.S. expenditure for its own war in Afghanistan.”

Full Story

The U.S. has spent more than $849 billion since it invaded Afghanistan in 2001, and it continues to spend money on reconstruction, according to recent government reports.

The U.S. has spent about $113 billion so far on aid to Ukraine since Russia invaded that country in early 2022.

But a video that’s been circulating on social media since mid-December claims that the amount spent in Ukraine is “double the U.S. expenditure for its own war in Afghanistan.”

That’s clearly false.

The U.S. was engaged in Afghanistan for 20 years and, according to the most recent report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, spent a cumulative total of $849.7 billion.

The spending packages approved by Congress for Ukraine over the last year have, as we said, totaled roughly $113 billion$13.6 billion in March, $40 billion in May, $12.35 billion in September and $47 billion in December — including funding for NATO allies.

The totals for both Afghanistan and Ukraine include military spending and humanitarian aid.

Carlos Reyes, who posted the video on Dec. 13 to his Instagram account titled “the splendid savage podcast,” also called the aid to Ukraine “money laundering,” an apparent reference to another false claim that was spreading widely at the time. We’ve written about that, too.

There doesn’t appear to be any actual podcast by that name and no such show is in the Apple Podcast catalog, an Apple spokesman told us.

But Reyes’ video has been shared by other Instagram users who have featured it on their accounts recently, furthering the falsehood about U.S. aid and military spending.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.

Sources

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Quarterly Report to the United States Congress. 30 Jan 2023.

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “Congress Approved $113 Billion of Aid to Ukraine in 2022.” 5 Jan 2023.

Robertson, Lori. “U.S. Aid to Ukraine, Explained.” FactCheck.org. 2 Dec 2022.

House Committee on Appropriations. UKRAINE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2022. Accessed 2 Feb 2023.

U.S. House. “H.R.7691, Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022.” (as passed 21 May 2022).

U.S. House. “H.R.6833 – Continuing Appropriations and Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023.” (as passed 30 Sep 2022).

House Committee on Appropriations. Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023. Accessed 2 Feb 2023.

Hale Spencer, Saranac. “Bogus Theory Misinterprets FTX Support for Ukraine.” FactCheck.org. Updated 13 Dec 2022.

Kahn, Zach. Spokesman, Apple. Email to FactCheck.org. 1 Feb 2023.

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