Many countries around the world are severely damaged by long, on-going wars. Most often, war-torn countries have a conflict between different groups in the same country. War-torn countries not only face high numbers of casualties and lost lives, but also destroyed infrastructure that can take years to rebuild post-war, alone during an on-going conflict.
World’s Most War-Torn Countries
Afghanistan has endured several civil wars over the years: 1989-1992; 1992-1996; 1996-2001; and the current civil conflict. In 2001, U.S. forces entered Afghanistan to eradicate the Taliban and help the country rebuild after years of conflict. The United States has also provided troops to protect the civilians of Afghanistan from Taliban attacks and allow the government to rebuild and reestablish power.
Despite these efforts, Afghanistan is still experiencing Taliban attacks and violence continues to claim thousands of civilians’ lives every year. In 2020, there have been about 2,700 casualties so far.
Iraq has also had a long history of war, including the Second Kurdish-Iraq War, the Iraq-Iran War, and the Gulf War. The most recent Iraq war began in 2003 when the United States invaded Iraq to overthrow the government led by Saddam Hussein.
The Iraqi Civil War began in 2014 when ISIS militants began spreading by taking over several major areas in Iraq. The Iraqi government has received aid from the United States, Iran and Syria to help defeat ISIS.
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, there have been an estimated 2.4 million deaths from war.
The Syrian Civil War is the second-deadliest war in the 21st century. The conflict arose from discontent with the Syrian government and escalated with protests in 2011 that called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s removal. These protests were violently suppressed and led to war. The opponents of the war in Syria are the Ba’athist Syrian Arab Republic led by al-Assad (and their allies) and the domestic and foreign forces opposing the Syrian government.
All sides involved in the way, including the Syrian government, opposition rebel groups, the United States, Turkey, and Russia, have been criticized by international organizations for massacres and human rights violations. The civil war has also caused a severe refugee situation, with over six million people internally displaced in Syria and over five million seeking refuge in other countries.
Other Current War-Torn Countries
Yemen is currently experiencing a civil war that claimed over 20,000 deaths in 2019 alone. The Yemeni Civil War began in 2015 between two sides that both claimed to constitute the official government of Yemen: the Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi-led government and the Houthi armed movement. Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes to restore the former Yemeni government, an action that has been condemned by the international community because of the number of civilian deaths. The bombing campaign has killed over 17,700 civilians as of March 20109. It’s estimated that over 100,000 people have been killed in the Yemeni Civil War, including 12,000 civilians.
The Mexican Drug War is an ongoing conflict between the Mexican government and various drug trafficking syndicates. The war also consists of violence between competing drug cartels throughout Mexico. Since 1982, federal law enforcement has been reorganized five times to attempt to reduce cartel violence and control corruption. Since 2006, about 120,000 people have been killed and 27,000 have gone missing as a result of the Drug War.
The Somali Civil War started in the 1980s and rose out of resistance to the military junta (military dictatorship) led by Siad Barre. From 1988 to 1990, the Somali Armed Forces began engaging armed rebel groups but the opposition groups overthrew Barre’s government in 1991. Following Barre’s ousting, a counter-revolution attempted to reinstate him as the leader of Somalia. The opposition groups began competing for power and conflicts in the south were particularly.
The already impoverished country not only faced violence-related deaths but also deaths from starvation. As of April 2020, humanitarian researchers are particularly concerned with the country’s ability to handle the COVID-19 pandemic due to the damage to its infrastructure and health care system. The Somali Civil War has had about 500,000 deaths.
The Libyan Civil War started in 2011 when Libyans were inspired by the uprisings in neighboring countries, like Tunisia and Egypt, and began violently protesting against the government. The rebels were met with opposition from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s troops. The conflict ended in October 2011 when the rebels took Benghazi and Tripoli and killed Gaddafi. It’s estimated that 20,000 people were killed an additional 50,000 were injured in the first Libyan Civil War. The Second Libyan Civil War erupted in 2014 between rival factions seeking control of Libya. The conflict is mostly between the House of Representatives and the Government of National Accord. About 9,000 people have been killed and over 20,000 people have been injured in the Second Libyan Civil War.
Other war-torn countries: