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Last Updated: Friday, 28 October 2005, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
MoD says Iraq has cost UK 3.1bn
British soldier in Basra
The MoD says the conflict has rid the world of a "dangerous dictator"
The Iraq war and its aftermath cost the UK almost 3.1bn up to the end of March this year, new figures from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) reveal.

The ministry's annual report shows troops' operations in Iraq cost 910m in the last financial year, compared to 847m in 2002/3 and 1.3bn in 2003/4.

Overall, the MoD spent 1.1bn in the year to March, including 67m in Afghanistan and 87m in the Balkans.

Opponents of the Iraq war say an astonishing sum has been spent on it.

Andrew Burgin, from the Stop The War Coalition, said: "It is a huge amount and every pound has been misspent and could have been better spent on schools and hospitals.

"It is a complete waste of money and resources - and a waste of human life on an illegal, unpopular and immoral war."

But a Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "We believe that the operations in Iraq were the right actions to rid the world of a very dangerous dictator."

The costs of the conflict in Iraq essentially come from government contingency reserves.

Ministers say remarkable political progress has been made in Iraq, with a new constitution approved in a referendum, and that security is also improving.

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