The Oxford English Dictionary defines "war" as: (1) A state of armed conflict between different countries or different groups within a country; (2) a state of competition or hostility between different people or groups, or (3) a sustained campaign against an undesirable situation or activity. There are many possible reasons for war to begin between—or more often, within—nations. Among these are economic gain, territorial gain, religion, nationalism, civil war, and political revolution. Often, countries' leaders become primary motivators of conflict by instigating a territorial dispute, trying to control another country's natural resources, or exercising authoritarian power over people.
Not all wars are formalized with official declarations of war between combatants. Conversely, not every ongoing armed conflict is classified as a war. This article will use the Uppsala Conflict Data Program definition, which described war as "a state-based conflict or dyad which reaches at least 1000 battle-related deaths in a specific calendar year." Fatality figures include any combatants killed in action as well as any civilians who were deliberately killed (for example, by bombings or other attacks).
Countries currently at war (as of September 2021):
Category: 10,000+ casualties in 2020/2021
Type: Civil War/Terrorist Insurgency The war in Afghanistan has been on and off since 1978. The most recent phase began in 2001 and has primarily revolved around U.S. and U.N. forces and allied Afghan troops fighting Taliban insurgents. According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), there were 30,936 confirmed fatalities in 2020 alone. The U.S./U.N. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 should signal the end of this particular conflict, but war between the Taliban and other factions, including ISIL-K, which bombed the airport in Kabul during U.S. evacuations, is expected to continue.
Ethiopia [also involved: Eritrea]
Type: Civil War Tension between clashing political parties in Ethiopia escalated into a violent civil war in November 2020. Eritrea, which borders Ethiopia to the north, has also sent troops into the conflict. The violence has spilled over into neighboring countries, with isolated skirmishes taking place in Sudan and Somalia. Named the "Tigray War", after the region in which it began, the war had resulted in more than 9,000 documented casualties (though some sources estimate more than 50,000) by September 2021. Reports indicate war crimes are common.
Type: Drug War The Mexican Drug War is an ongoing conflict between the Mexican government and multiple powerful and violent drug trafficking cartels. It is estimated that the war on drugs has led to at least 350,000 deaths—with more than 72,000 people still missing—from January 2006 to May 2021.
Yemen [also involved: Saudi Arabia]
Type: Civil War The Yemeni Civil War began in September 2014 when the the Houthi armed movement took control of Sanaa, the capital city and seat of the existing government, led by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Both factions claim to be the official Yemeni government. Saudi Arabia intervened in support of Hadi in early 2015, leading a coalition of Asian and African countries, with intelligence and logistical support from the United States. ACLED has counted more than 140,000 fatalities since the start of the war, including nearly 20,000 in 2020 alone.
Category: 1,000 to 10,000 casualties in 2020/2021
There are several countries at war due to a terrorist insurgency: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq (also political unrest), Libya (also civil war), Mali (also civil war), Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Tunisia. Colombia, Myanmar, and Syria are in the midst of civil wars, as well as Libya and Mali. Colombia's war is also a drug war. South Sudan is at war due to ethnic violence.