British Casualties: Afghanistan

Monitoring casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan
Duration of war: 10 years, 5 months
Troops in theatre: 9,500
Fatalities at Feb 17th 2012: 404
Casualty data analysed to: Dec 31st 2011
UK military casualties in 2008: 1,924
UK military casualties in 2009: 2,808
UK military casualties in 2010: 2,744
UK military casualties in 2011: 2,183*
Total UK casualties: not released by MOD

The graphs below are compiled from official Ministry of Defence data and illustrate the trends in British casualties in Afghanistan. They are now updated twice a year when data becomes available.  We are fully aware of the limitations in the data released by the MOD, its potential to mislead and its incompleteness. Nevertheless, the official data does provide the best available measure of the cost of war to British forces and is useful for following trends in the conflict.

*A full breakdown of casualty figures is provided in the table below.
NB To enlarge the graphs for easier reading click on the images. All Casualty Monitor graphics can also be accessed here.

Graph of monthly British combat casualties in Afghan war
The first chart provides a monthly breakdown of casualties officially recorded by the MOD as being due to direct action, i.e. fighting. The 3 month moving average indicates the trend in combat casualties. As information was only made available on a monthly basis by the MOD from April 2006, the figures are shown from this date onwards.

Graph of total British casualties in Afghan warThe second chart shows the figures for total casualties reported by the MOD. Due to the way the figures are presented in the MOD reports, it is impossible to be sure whether, and to what extent, double counting may be occurring. For example, soldiers admitted to field hospitals may also be classified as serious or very seriously injured, and could also, in principle, be counted in the aero-medical evacuation figures. However, from the publicly available data it is just not possible to know and we therefore present the sum of the different categories. As such, the figures represent the upper range of the official total casualty count. Nonetheless, the data illustrate that from since the beginning of 2006 until now, total casualties may now be over 7,000.

Graph of annual British casualties in Afghan war
The third chart summarises the available data on fatalities and serious injuries since the war began in October 2001. A very low level of casualties is seen following the invasion until 2006, when the conflict and British involvement significantly escalates. The last column of the chart shows the casualties projected for the current year. This extrapolation is simply based on the average number of casualties suffered each week so far this year, multiplied by fifty-two.

Lastly, the table below shows a summary of the available MOD casualty statistics for 2001 - 2010.

Table: Summary of Ministry of Defence Statistics on British Casualties in Afghanistan (October 2001 - Dec 31st 2011)

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Fatalities 0 3 0 1 1 39 42 51 108 103 46
Very Seriously Injured 0 1 0 3 2 18 23 27 83 80 34
Seriously Injured 0 0 1 3 0 13 40 38 75 74 35
Field Hospital Admissions n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 240 832 1,008 1,229 1,262 921
n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 262 572 800 1,313 1,225 1,147
Totals 0 4 1 7 3 572 1,509 1,924 2,808 2,744 2,183

Source: Ministry of Defence
n/a - Data not available from MOD