The Department of Defense employed more than 25,000 private contractors in Afghanistan at the end of 2016, more than twice the number of U.S. troops. U.S. armed forces figures include all active and reserve personnel.

Source: Heidi M. Peters et al., “Department of Defense Contractor and Troop Levels in Iraq and Afghanistan: 2007–2017,” Congressional Research Service, April 28, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/lch975o

Data for the graphic are as follows:

Quarter Fiscal Year Number of U.S. Armed Forces Number of Private Contractors
Q4 2007 24,056 29,473
Q4 2008 33,450 68,252
Q4 2009 62,300 104,101
Q4 2010 96,600 70,599
Q4 2011 98,200 101,789
Q4 2012 76,500 109,564
Q4 2013 55,800 85,528
Q4 2014 27,800 45,349
Q4 2015 9,100 30,211
Q4 2016 9,800 25,197
Q1 2017 Not Yet Available 26,022

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