Monday, November 09, 2009

British Casualties in Afghanistan - Analysis up to September 30th 2009

Analysis of casualty data up to the end of September 2009 is now on-line for British forces in Afghanistan. Released the day after Remembrance Sunday, they re-iterate the growing price being paid by troops fighting in this war, eight years after the initial invasion.

The analysis shows the continued rise in the 3 month moving average of British casualties. Although the figures for September have fallen slightly from August they still comprise the third highest monthly casualties for UK forces since the war began in 2001. The data do not, of course, include the recent surge in fatalities associated with the Taliban infiltration operation against police trainers and ongoing use of ambushes and IEDs.

Since the last casualty update there have been several significant changes in the policy arena with the widely perceived failure of Afghan elections, continuing criticism of the government's support for British forces, mixed messages from the Prime Minister on British commitment, plans for withdrawal of collation forces from large parts of Helmand, and a delay in decision making on strategy from Washington. Clearly, the policy context that underpins the war is in flux. The next few weeks may be critical as decisions are made by politicians on the future of the war and the people who are fighting it.