NATO’s Effort in Afghanistan

At a time (19th to 20th November 2010) when the 28 member countries of NATO are meeting in Lisbon to decide, after nine years of fighting the Taliban, what to do next in Afghanistan, it is instructive to see how the burdens of NATO’s effort have been shared out so far.

Assuming that Britain, the USA and Canada are not unduly profligate or careless with the lives of their military personnel, their numbers of deaths is a realistic proxy for the effort put in to actually fighting the Taliban.

The USA mourns the loss of 1,393, the UK 344, Canada 152, Denmark 39, and the other 24 member states a total of 269 between them.  That is to say the UK has contributed more than the whole of the rest of NATO excluding the US and Canada.  Proportionately to population these figures translate as the USA 4.5 per million of their population, the UK 5.5, Canada 5.0, Denmark 7.1.  The next highest rate is the Netherlands 1.5 deaths per million of population.  On this basis the three Anglo countries of NATO have thus contributed 87.5% of the total fighting effort – not far short proportionately of the effort of 95% which they jointly deployed in the liberation of Western Europe in 1944-45 all those years ago.

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One Response to “NATO’s Effort in Afghanistan”

  1. Ageing Albion says:

    Even worse, if NATO functioned as it should, it would have deliberately placed fewer British in Afghanistan – and none at all in Helmand – because they were the one nationality whose presence however well intentioned was likely to provoke the Afghans, given their (real and imagined) history. It would be like sending the Paras into Southern Ireland. It wouldn’t matter how benign their intention was, or whatever one thinks the real story of Irish independence was, the locals wouldn’t have it.

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