Three hundred and ninety soldiers have been killed and over 2,000 seriously injured, limbless, blind, emasculated or disabled in a hundred different ways. We have also imposed a considerable “investment” on the people of Helmand. Hundreds of Helmandi civilians have been killed, many thousands seriously injured. We don’t know how many as we don’t count them. Tens of thousands more have been displaced by the fighting, many of them to squalid refugee camps in Kabul.
This newspaper has estimated the financial cost to the UK of military operations at the very least £18bn, a figure that does not include of course the vast amounts expended building “Afghan governance”. Sherard Cowper-Coles’s evidence to the parliamentary foreign affairs select committee puts the cost of the entire campaign at nearly £6bn a year.
… “We almost owe it to those who have gone before to see the job through,” says the general, yet nowhere do we hear what that “job” is. It must be time now even for senior soldiers to admit that this has become a very bad investment indeed. We “owe it” to those whose lives and limbs may yet be saved to cut our losses.
For more on this story, visit: What has been the return on that ‘investment in blood’ in Afghanistan? | Frank Ledwidge | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.