Brit troops twice as likely to die in Afghanistan than US, study finds

Brit troops twice as likely to die in Afghanistan than US, study finds

May 12, 2021

British soldiers were more than twice as likely to die during peak of Afghan War than US troops, report reveals

  • British troops were more than twice as likely to die than US counterparts during the peak of Allied deployment in Afghanistan, a new Costs of War study finds 
  • The UK’s forces suffered 455 casualties between 2001 to 2017 which is the second highest figure of all NATO allies that participated during the conflict
  • Report’s author said Americans don’t ‘fully understand’ the sacrifices allies made

British soldiers were more than twice as likely to die during the peak of the Afghanistan War compared with their American counterparts, a study has found. 

The Costs of War report, commissioned by The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, analysed the number of casualties suffered by US forces alongside its allies during the Afghanistan War. 

Despite the number of US fatalities significantly outweighing other nations, in real terms, Brits sent to fight in Afghanistan were more likely to die, the university said. 

The report’s author, Jason Davidson, told the Guardian Americans ‘do not fully understand’ the sacrifices made by the Allied forces during the Afghanistan War. 

The damning report follows the recent announcement that US troops are set to withdraw from Afghanistan, 20 years after the initial invasion.

A new study has found British forces were more than twice as likely to die at the peak of the Afghanistan War compared to US troops. (Pictured: British Paratroopers from the 3rd Battalion regiment search for weapons in Salavat, Panjawi Province, Afghanistan in 2008)

Over the course of two decades, more than 240,000 people have died, millions of refugees have been displaced and over 3,000 allied soldiers lost their lives.

The Costs of War is a project that tracks the overall impact of the Afghanistan War, with their latest analysis coming 10 days after US forces started handing strategic bases back to the Afghan Army.

Although the Americans suffered a significantly higher total number of fatalities (2,316), comparing the total number of deaths with troop deployment figures by nation shows the UK and Canada suffered significantly higher real term losses. 

The report’s author also conceded that Americans are yet to ‘fully understand’ the sacrifices made by other NATO countries’ forces during the conflict.

Mr Davidson said: ‘It’s something that not only doesn’t get attention from those who are critics of the allies. 

‘It doesn’t even get the attention that it deserves from those who are generally cheerleaders for allies, like the current administration. 

‘I would like to see more American policymaker acknowledgment and discussion with the public of the costs that America’s allies have incurred in these wars.’

The Rhode Island university’s findings mirror those published by UK-based Action on Armed Violence, who said in December that the War on Terror was ’12 per cent deadlier for UK personnel’ compared with US forces. 

More than 2,300 US soldiers died during the Afghanistan War (pictured: American soldiers in Deh Afghan in 2006)

Overall, the Action on Armed Violence study found the Afghanistan War accounted for more than 70 per cent of British casualties during the ‘War on Terror’ era.

One finding in the aforementioned report reads: ‘The War on Terror was proportionately deadlier for UK personnel than it was for US personnel.’

The United States, alongside coalition allies including Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and France, invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 in an attempt to oust Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, who was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks.

President Joe Biden has publicly announced his plan for all US forces to be removed from the country by September 11 this year.

By December 2020, there were approximately 4,000 US troops still in Afghanistan – down from a peak of over 100,000 in 2010.

Earlier this month, the Taliban launched an attack in the Helmand province, just two days after US forces ceded control of the Antonik camp to the Afghan Army.

The offensive came after militants launched assaults around the country following a missed US deadline to withdraw troops from the country, as agreed in talks with the Taliban last year. 

Attaullah Afghan, the head of Helmand’s provincial council, said the Taliban launched their offensive on Monday, May 3, attacking checkpoints around the outskirts of Lashkar Gah and taking over some of them.

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