Page last updated at 09:15 GMT, Monday, 5 July 2010 10:15 UK

Afghanistan: Key facts and figures

UK forces have been in Afghanistan for almost a decade. The death toll now exceeds that of the Iraq war and more than 100 soldiers died last year. Read key facts and figures about the war, and the British and other international forces fighting the Taliban and engaged in reconstruction work.

Military fatalities in Afghanistan by nation of origin

Highest monthly death toll comes in July 2009, with 22 dead, as a major offensive against the Taliban begins in the south.

Casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan compared


British and other ISAF troops face a determined enemy in the Taliban. The insurgents consist mainly of Afghans, though numbers of Arab and Uzbek fighters are also be involved. Groups of fighters are usually organised along local and tribal lines and led by a senior, experienced commander.

Here we compare a British soldier with his Taliban counterpart.

British soldier and Taliban fighter

British soldier

Main weapons: Standard issue SA-80 rifle, L1A1 12.7 mm Heavy Machine gun, 81mm Mortar
Strengths: Highly-trained, well-supported professional soldier with modern equipment. Air support available
Weaknesses: May struggle to adapt to fighting in the harsh Afghan environment. Lacks intimate knowledge of local landscape, may face hostility and distrust from civilians
Taliban fighter

Main weapons: Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle, Rocket-Propelled Grenades.
Strengths: Tenacious, well-supplied guerrilla force highly adapted to local climate and geography. Can blend in with local population when required.
Weaknesses: Vulnerable to air attack. Few heavy weapons. Factional nature can mean shifting loyalties. Poor weapons-handling skills.


Mobility is a major factor in guerrilla warfare and Taliban fighters often operate as a 'pick-up truck cavalry' force in adapted four-wheel drive vehicles such as the Toyota Hi-Lux.

ISAF forces tend to rely on heavier armoured vehicles.

British and Taleban transport

Mastiff II

Defences: Heavy armour and V-shaped hull to protect against roadside bombs and mines.
Strengths: State-of-the-art, heavily armed, armoured patrol vehicle designed to carry 8 soldiers and 2 crew.
Weaknesses: Expensive, requires dedicated maintenance.
Cost: Approximately £1.2 million per vehicle
Toyota Hi Lux

Defences: Some carry RPG launchers, heavy machine guns.
Strengths: Hard-wearing, fast, reliable off-road transport for up to 10 Taliban fighters.
Weaknesses: No armour, variable levels of mechanical support.
Cost: Approximately $10,000 in local terms.


The true number of civilians killed in the Afghan conflict will probably never be known. ISAF has only recently begun to count the numbers of civilians killed. The estimates below are based on estimates provided by a range of agencies together with local and international press reports.

Estimated civilian casualties in Afghanistan

Numbers of troops

Albania 250 FYROM* 215 Norway 470
Australia 1,550 Georgia 175 Poland 2,515
Austria 3 Germany 4,365 Portugal 105
Azerbaijan 90 Greece 70 Romania 1010
Belgium 590 Hungary 360 Singapore 40
Bosnia and Herzegovina 10 Iceland 4 Slovakia 230
Bulgaria 525 Ireland 7 Slovenia 75
Canada 2,830 Italy 3,300 Spain 1,270
Croatia 290 Jordan 6 Sweden 485
Czech Rep 460 Latvia 115 Turkey 1,795
Denmark 750 Lithuania 145 Ukraine 10
Estonia 155 Luxembourg 8 UAE 10
Finland 100 Netherlands 1,885 UK 9,500
France 3,750 NZ 225 US+ 32,415
Total (approx.): 73,554
* Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
+ The US has around 36,000 additional troops in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom

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