Operations in Afghanistan: Background Briefing 1

The background to UK military involvement in Afghanistan.

Following the terrorist attacks on Washington and New York on 11 September 2001, the United Kingdom identified four main goals in its campaign against international terrorism (known as Operation VERITAS): deny Al Qaida its Afghan base, deny them an alternative base outside Afghanistan, attack Al Qaida internationally, and support other states in their efforts against Al Qaida.

The UK was involved in Afghanistan alongside Coalition forces, led by the US under Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), from the first attacks in October 2001. Royal Navy submarines fired Tomahawk missiles against the Taleban and Al Qaida networks, and RAF aircraft provided reconnaissance and air-to-air refuelling capabilities in support of US strike aircraft. The US flew missions from Diego Garcia, part of the British Indian Ocean Territory.

UK troops were first deployed in November 2001, when Royal Marines from 40 Commando helped to secure the airfield at Bagram. A 1,700 battlegroup based around Royal Marines from 45 Commando, was subsequently deployed as Task Force JACANA. Their role was to deny and destroy terrorist infrastructure and interdict the movement of Al Qaida in eastern Afghanistan. In several major operations, Task Force JACANA destroyed a number of bunkers and caves, and it also provided humanitarian assistance in areas previously dominated by the Taleban and Al Qaida. It withdrew in July 2002.

The Taliban had collapsed by the end of 2001, remnants melting back into the Pushtun populace in southern Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal areas. It was important, however, to ensure that Afghanistan did not return to ungoverned space within which terrorist training and preparation could flourish. International forces therefore remained in Afghanistan to provide security and stability, to combat residual Taleban and Al Qaida elements, and to support the development of Afghan security forces.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which aimed to assist the Afghan Transitional Authority in creating and maintaining a safe and secure environment in Kabul and its surrounding area, was created in December 2001, authorised by United Nations UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1386 and successive resolutions (the latest of which is UNSCR 1623). The UK led negotiations in December 2001 to create the ISAF, and Major-General John McColl led the first mission with contributions from 16 nations. As well as providing the headquarters and much of the supporting forces for ISAF, the UK contributed the brigade headquarters, and an infantry battalion. Our contribution initially peaked at 2,100 troops, later decreasing to around 300 personnel after the transfer of ISAF leadership to Turkey in the summer of 2002.

Since the beginning an important part of the ISAF and OEF missions in Afghanistan has been to train and build the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces to enable them to take on more responsibility for security in their own country. In March 2003 we began a highly successful programme to train Junior Non-Commissioned Officers for the Afghan National Army. We have since supplemented this with junior officer training on the Sandhurst model in Kabul, and with Operational Mentoring and Liaison Teams in Helmand.

The UK announced its first Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in the North of Afghanistan, in Mazar-e-Sharif, in May 2003; a second, smaller, UK-led PRT was subsequently established in Meymaneh. They were part of the Coalition until 2004, when ISAF expanded into the North. The PRT in Mazar included staffs from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development, who were brought together with around 100 troops to support development programmes alongside local Afghan authorities. In March 2006 it transferred to Swedish control to enable the UK to move its forces to the South, while the PRT in Meymaneh was handed over to Norway in September 2005.

Stage One of ISAF expansion began late in 2003, following NATO's assumption of ISAF command, with United Nations authorisation given in October (UNSCR 1510). Expansion began in the North, with the Germans leading a PRT in Kunduz. Command of the UK-led PRTs in the North was transferred to ISAF in July 2004. Further PRTs were established in Feyzabad and Baghlan by Germany and the Netherlands. Around this time, the UK also contributed the bulk of the troops needed for a new Quick Reaction Force based in Mazar-e-Sharif, bringing the number of UK troops to around 1000.

In September 2004 we also deployed six Harrier GR7s to Kandahar to support OEF operations. The aircraft were also made available to support the ISAF.

In February 2005, NATO announced that ISAF would be further expanded into the West of Afghanistan. This process, Stage Two, began on 31 May 2005, when ISAF took on command of two Italian-led Provincial Reconstruction Teams in the provinces of Herat and Farah and of a Forward Support Base in Heart, also provided by Italy. Later that year two further ISAF-led PRTs in the West became operational, in Chagcharan, led by Lithuania, and Qal'eh-Now, led by Spain.

The staged NATO ISAF expansion had a positive role in extending the writ of the Kabul government to the provinces, setting the conditions for reconstruction, and in helping the Afghan authorities provide security during the successful presidential elections in October 2004. These elections were a crucial milestone in the democratic development of the country, and the parliamentary elections in September 2005 marked the successful culmination of the Bonn Process.

In May 2006 the UK deployed the HQ of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) to Kabul for nine months to lead the ISAF, and oversee ISAF expansion into the more challenging South and East of Afghanistan. There are now 37 nations contributing around 20,000 forces to the ISAF.

Stage Three of ISAF expansion, which came into effect on 31 July 2006, has taken the NATO-led ISAF into Southern Afghanistan. Eight nations are contributing a total of 10,000 forces to the South. The UK, US, Canada and the Netherlands are leading PRTs in Helmand, Zabol, Kandahar and Oruzgan provinces, with Denmark, Estonia, Australia, and Romania also contributing forces.

The UK is making a substantial contribution: on 26 January 2006 the then Defence Secretary John Reid announced the deployment of some 3,300 UK military personnel – centred initially around 16 Air Assault Brigade – to Helmand province in the south of the country. These forces will be supplemented by around 1000 troops, as announced by the Secretary of State on 15 June 2006 and 10 July 2006, in addition to the UK's Harrier GR7s which still support ISAF and OEF from Kandahar.

The UK's deployment to Helmand has seen several small and medium-size operations designed to root out insurgents. These are an essential prelude to implementing the main, unchanged, ISAF mission: facilitating reconstruction and the extension of government authority. To help accelerate the pace of that reconstruction, enhancements to the Helmand Taskforce including around 300 engineers were announced on 10 July 2006.

In line with our plans to move south, the UK-led PRT at Meymaneh was transferred to Norwegian responsibility on 1 September 2005; and the UK PRT in Mazar-e-Sharif to Swedish responsibility on 15 March 2006.

The last stage of ISAF expansion, Stage Four, took place in October 2006. ISAF expanded into the East of the country, which means that ISAF forces are operating across all of Afghanistan for the first time. The expansion resulted in some 10,000 Coalition (mainly US) troops being moved under ISAF command, resulting in total ISAF troop numbers rising to 31,000.

Operations in Afghanistan: Background Briefing 2

Afghanistan - The Year Ahead

We, along with the rest of the international community, are determined never to allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists again. We are working hard towards a common goal – to develop a self-sustaining, stable and democratic Afghanistan.

Real progress has been made in the last five years, but clearly there will be many challenges and opportunities in the year ahead.

Important to remember that the institutions of a functioning democracy are being established from scratch. Children, including girls, are back in school. Women are participating in political life.
The Afghan economy is picking up. Afghanistan has reclaimed its place in the community of nations.

UK troops, as part of the 37-nation strong NATO International Assistance Force (ISAF), are aiming to create a stable environment to enable the Afghan Government extend its authority across the country and reconstruction and development to take place.

We can and will succeed, but only if we all stand and work together, adopting a comprehensive approach that encompasses all our international partners and organisations.

The Background to UK and International Support

With the aim of building a durable Afghan state, the United Nations convened a meeting in Bonn in December 2001 between key Afghan figures and the international community, where a path to an independent and democratic Afghanistan was mapped out.

This foresaw:

In parallel with the Bonn Process, several G8 nations assumed responsibility for strands of Afghan development, reconstruction and Security Sector Reform. Within this framework, the UK assumed leadership of the Counter-Narcotics (CN) effort. Other nations took on responsibility for other issues: the US for Afghan National Army development; Italy for Judicial Reform; Germany for Police Reform; Japan for Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration.

Although the Bonn Process has now concluded, UK and international support for Afghanistan’s ongoing stabilisation and reconstruction remains as critical as ever. The UK and Afghanistan signed an Enduring Relationship declaration in July 2005: proof of our commitment to Afghanistan’s long-term stability and development. The London Conference on 31 January – 1 February 2006, which was jointly hosted by the UN, UK and Afghanistan, saw the launch of a new ‘Afghanistan Compact’, which sets out the framework for international engagement over the next five years. Some $10.5bn was pledged at the London Conference, including some £500m of support that the UK has committed for the next three years.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), created at the request of the Afghan Government and with the authorisation of the United Nations in 2001, is currently expanding its support across the country. The current phase, Stage 3, sees NATO taking command of international forces now building up in the South. The UK contribution to this, announced on 26 January 2006, is a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Lashkar Gah, backed up by the 3,300 strong Helmand Taskforce. In addition, in May 2006 we deployed the Headquarters Group of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps to lead the entire ISAF for nine months.

Security

Our troops are in Afghanistan as part of the NATO International Security Assistance Force, to establish the secure environment necessary for reconstruction and development to take place. The situation is challenging, but we are there to succeed.

The NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) – including the UK forces – is in Afghanistan at the invitation of the democratically elected Afghan Government and with UN authorisation, to provide the secure environment necessary for reconstruction and development to take place. NATO Foreign Ministers reaffirmed the long-term commitment of their countries to this goal when they met in Brussels on 26 January.

The security situation around the country is broadly stable. Neither Taliban nor other illegal armed groups pose a credible threat to the democratically elected Afghan Government. But the stakes are high for control of the south, which is why the Taliban continue to fight us, behead teachers and intimidate farmers into growing poppies.

ISAF, including UK, forces in the south have taken the fight to the Taleban over the winter months, and we have tactically defeated them again and again. The defeats have demonstrated to the local population, who largely support us, that we will succeed. Taliban propaganda has been shown up to be what it is: grossly exaggerated claims about individual incidents and about their strength.

The Afghan Security Forces are increasingly contributing to securing their own country, although much more needs to be done to help them achieve this. The Afghan National Army (ANA) has been reformed: it is now more professional, accountable and ethnically balanced. Approximately 30,000 ANA soldiers and close to 50,000 Afghan National Police officers have been recruited, trained and equipped. Work is underway to ensure greater co-ordination of the army and police, with the development of command centres at provincial and regional levels.

Over 62,000 fighters have been disarmed under the UN and Afghan Government’s Disarmament, Demobilisation and Rehabilitation (DDR) programme. The programme was succeeded in June 2005 by the Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG) process. More than 1,000 groups are engaged in this process. Over 22,000 weapons and over 200,000 items of ammunition have been collected to date. However, much remains to be done to ensure that these groups do not continue to jeopardise Afghanistan’s stability.

With increased security, over 4.6 million refugees have returned to their homes and form an essential part of the reconstruction process.

The Afghan Political Process

Afghanistan's fledgling democracy is beginning to work.


The Afghan people have enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to shape their country’s future with 70% of registered voters participating in the 2004 Presidential elections, and 51.5% in the 2005 Parliamentary and Provincial Council elections. The Afghan Government is working hard to strengthen its institutions and to extend its remit across the entire country. We, and the international community, have an important role to play in ensuring that more is done in the year ahead to build on this progress.

While securing the full participation of women in all sectors of the economy and society will take time and serious problems remain, much progress has been made. Gender equality is enshrined in the Afghan Constitution. Women, excluded from society by the Taliban, are now in government: they form a quarter of the total number of MPs sitting in the 351-member National Assembly. Their active presence in politics powerfully demonstrates that Taliban values are not Afghan values.

After decades of conflict, Afghan governance institutions have had to be established from scratch. This is a difficult and long-term challenge but the Afghans are taking their responsibilities seriously. On 19 December 2006, the National Assembly celebrated its first-year anniversary. Highlights of the last year include the approval of the Cabinet and the budget for 2006-2007, and the emergence of three parliamentary groups. The National Assembly is taking an increasingly active part in shaping Afghanistan’s future and has begun to implement an effective system of checks and balances against the Government.

Ensuring respect for the rule of law and rebuilding legislative, judicial and law enforcement institutions ravaged by decades of conflict are essential to Afghanistan’s long-term stability and prosperity. Though much remains to be done, substantial progress has been made towards enhancing the capacity of key Afghan ministries and developing a coherent and progressive legal framework. Vital legislation has been adopted, including on counter-narcotics, the Office of the Prosecutor and the jurisdiction and organisation of courts. Supreme Court justices have been appointed. Prosecutions, particularly for drugs offences, are successfully taking place. A series of training programmes has seen over 600 Afghan judges, prosecutors and lawyers (including 42 women) undergo specialised legal training in the last four years.

Corruption remains a major challenge. Addressing it requires a sustained long-term effort. Some monitoring mechanisms have been put in place. An Appointments Advisory Panel has been created to advise the President on all senior appointments below Ministers that are not within the mandate of the existing Civil Service Appointments Board. President Karzai has also established an Anti-Corruption Commission, chaired by the Chief Justice, and has asked the Attorney General to lead the fight against corruption. A number of officials have already been suspended across Afghanistan and investigations are under way.

With the re-establishment of democratic government, the media has flourished: five independent TV channels, one government run TV channel and about 290 newspapers contribute today to the democratic debate in Afghanistan.

Reconstruction and Development

Reconstruction of a country ravaged by over 25 years of conflict is a long-term endeavour. We, alongside the rest of the international community, are committing considerable resources to make a real difference in the lives of Afghan people. We are seeing results in much of the country.

Since 2001, the UK has spent over £500 million on reconstruction and development in Afghanistan, making the UK Afghanistan’s second largest bilateral donor after the US. The UK’s long-term commitment to the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan is underpinned by the Afghanistan Compact and the 10-year UK-Afghanistan Development Partnership Arrangement, which supports the Afghan Government’s interim National Development Strategy. The Arrangement, signed in February 2006 by Prime Minister Tony Blair and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, commits £330 million of development assistance to Afghanistan over three years (2006-09). £102 million of this assistance will be disbursed in 2006/2007 and £115 million in 2008/09.

With ISAF support, Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) across Afghanistan are paving the way for reconstruction and helping extend the authority of the Afghan Government. PRTs have brought real benefits to the people in northern and western Afghanistan. In the south, they are starting to see tangible results. The UK-led PRT in Helmand, despite challenging security environment, has implemented over 100 Quick Impact Projects aimed at improving the lives of ordinary Afghans. These projects include the construction of windmill-powered wells and schools; water infrastructure works; and emergency food distribution. UK PRT officials are also working with Helmand authorities to strengthen provincial level democracy. They are helping the Provincial Development Committee prioritise its efforts in line with national plans, enabling Afghan-led reconstruction efforts to get off the ground.

Our efforts and those of the Afghan Government are paying off. School enrolment has quadrupled in the last four years - 5.1 million Afghan children are now in school; 37% of students are girls. Enrolment in higher education has increased from 4,000 in 2001 to over 40,000 today, of which 19% are women (UNICEF, 2006). There are currently around 181,000 teachers and nearly 1,500 people training to be teachers; a third of teachers are women.1.2 million illiterate people are participating in literacy courses. On 9 January, President Karzai and Education Minister Atmar launched a new five-year education strategy to implement the education commitments included in the Compact.

Since 2001 the number of functioning health clinics has increased by 60% and the Basic Package of Health Services has been expanded to 82 per cent of the Afghan population. 856 standard health facilities are now functional. One district hospital, 22 basic Health Centres and 17 Comprehensive Health Centres have also been established. Since 2002, UN agencies, in co-ordination with the Afghan Ministry of Public Health, have administered 16 million vaccinations against childhood diseases, saving an estimated 30,000 lives. Programmes of water-chlorination and well-reconstruction are tackling water-borne diseases across the country.

While Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world, its legal economy has grown rapidly and is now around 3 times larger than it was in 2001. The IMF estimate that GDP grew by 14 percent in 2005/06. GDP growth is expected to be around 8% in 2006/07, higher than the South Asian average of 7%.

Despite a challenging business environment, private investment has increased exponentially from $50 million in 2003 to almost $400 million now, and is estimated to reach more than $600 million by 2009/2010. (IMF, 2006) Inflation has been steady at around 9% in 2005-2006. (IMF, 2006) This is a strong achievement for a country so recently out of conflict, and is fundamental for attracting investment as Afghanistan moves from crisis mode to a more traditional development context.

Trade with regional countries has also grown substantially. In 2001, $26 million worth of goods were exported from Pakistan to Afghanistan. In 2005, total trade between the two countries rose to $1.2 billion. (World Bank, 2005)

Provincial Reconstruction Teams

Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) are at the heart of the ISAF mission – they embody a joint military and civilian approach to stabilising Afghanistan.

A PRT is a combination of international military and civilian personnel based in provincial areas of Afghanistan. Its three core tasks are to support the extension of the authority of the Afghan central government, to support reform of the security sector, and to facilitate development and reconstruction. Each is tailored to the prevailing security situation, socio-economic conditions, terrain, and reach of the central government. Although a lead nation retains responsibility, the PRT may also contain military and civilian personnel from other nations.

The primary role of the military in a PRT is to provide an enabling security environment in which the authority of the Afghan Government can be extended, and development and reconstruction work carried out. Military personnel can help to do this by undertaking tasks such as patrolling, liaison with the local population, and by helping to develop the capacity of the Afghan security forces by training and operating alongside them.

With a secure environment in place, civilian personnel work closely with the Afghan government and with the military to provide a seamless package of assistance. Supporting Afghanistan’s development requires the establishment of strong democratic institutions, a functioning legal system, and a sustainable legitimate economy capable of providing livelihoods for the local population.

The PRT model has shown itself to be highly effective. For instance, by working closely with local police the former UK-led PRT in the North, in Mazar-e-Sharif, has reduced levels of banditry in previously notorious areas and has won the support of the local population, which clearly appreciates the effective presence of indigenous, centralised security institutions. The UK’s provision of police mentors is also a good example of how we can transfer skills to the Afghan security forces. The UK-led PRT in Helmand, at Lashkar Gah, will seek to do likewise, and will include, amongst others, experts on governance, police reform, counter-narcotics and the justice sector.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) now leads nine PRTs in the North and West of Afghanistan, with a further four in the South, currently under coalition command, shortly to come under ISAF. There are also PRTs under coalition command in the East of Afghanistan.

ISAF PRTs:

Counter-Narcotics
Drugs are one of the gravest threats to the long term security and prosperity of the Afghan people. Sustainable drug elimination strategies take time. The Afghan Government has made clear its commitment to tackling the trade.

The UK, as Afghanistan's partner nation in counter-narcotics (CN), is working with the Afghan Government and the international community to bring about a sustainable reduction in the cultivation, production and trafficking of opium. We are helping the Afghan Government in its efforts to implement its National Drug Control Strategy (NDCS) and to turn international interest for counter narcotics into support and resources.

The NDCS is well balanced and represents the right approach. It targets the trafficker and aims to strengthen legal livelihoods, reduce demand and develop effective institutions. The international community has pledged $83.6 million to the UN- administered CN Trust Fund to date, towards the implementation of the NDCS.

The Taliban derive economic benefits from the drug trade. It is in their interest and that of the traffickers to undermine the Afghan Government’s efforts to establish stability. In the south, they encourage farmers to grow poppy and to resist eradication. We actively support the Afghan Government’s efforts to disrupt links between the Taliban and traffickers.

The drug trade cannot be treated in isolation. We are working with the Afghan Government to ensure that counter narcotics efforts are integrated across the Afghan rule of law sector. Progress is being made. In the last year and a half alone, we have seen the passage of vital CN legislation, conviction of over 320 traffickers, and an increase in drug related seizures. A high security prison wing is to become operational this spring.

Of course there is more to be done - the 2006 increase in cultivation was very disappointing and reflected the challenging security situation and limited law enforcement capability in some parts of the country, in particular in the south. However, the picture varies between and within provinces.

In areas of Afghanistan where access to governance, security and development has improved, reductions achieved have been sustained. Production in three of the four highest poppy cultivating provinces was down in 2006 (Balkh –33%, Farah –25% and Kandahar –3%). Cultivation also remained at manageable levels across much of Nangarhar and Laghman for the second consecutive year (the original heartland of Afghan cultivation and processing). This is a first in Afghanistan.

It is too early to predict overall cultivation levels for 2007. Early indicators suggest a possible decrease in the north and increase in the south and east, including Helmand, Kandahar and Nangarhar. This appears to follow last year's pattern of cultivation reductions being sustained in areas of improved access to governance, security and development.

The right institutional mechanisms are not in place to set up and administer a system of legal cultivation in Afghanistan. Without an effective control system, traffickers would be free to continue to exploit the illicit market. The Afghan Government has therefore ruled it out as a means of tackling the illicit trade. The UK supports and agrees with the Afghan position.

Opium poppy eradication policy and implementation is the responsibility of the Afghan Government, who sees it as an important means of deterrence in its crackdown on the drugs trade. We believe eradication should be targeted where the most opportunities for legal livelihoods exist – as set out in the NDCS. The Afghan Government has expressed its determination to carry out eradication of targeted areas in Helmand, and across the south of the country.

Names of UK Military operations in Afghanistan

UK military operations in Afghanistan are currently conducted under the name Operation HERRICK. They have also been conducted under the names Operation VERITAS and Operation FINGAL (ISAF).

Operation JACANA, conducted by 45 Commando Group, included Operations PTARMIGAN, SNIPE, CONDOR and BUZZARD.

The cost of UK Military Operations in Afghanistan

The Ministry of Defence identifies the costs of military operations in terms of the net additional costs it has incurred, over and above planned expenditure on defence. The costs of our operations in Afghanistan come from the Treasury Special Reserve.

The overall cost of operations in Afghanistan in 2001-2002 was £221M.
The cost for 2002-2003 was £311M.
The cost for 2003-2004 was £46M.
The cost for 2004-2005 was £67M.
The cost for 2005-2006 was £199M.

We do not report future year costs as operations are by their nature changeable.

Operations in Afghanistan: British Forces

List of UK units deployed to the theatre of operations plus links to Coalition information.

UK Forces are deployed to Afghanistan in support of the UN authorised, NATO led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission and as part of the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).  UK operations in Afghanistan are being conducted under the name Operation HERRICK.

UK Forces in theatre (deploying from 1 May 2007)

Our forces in Afghanistan are currently over 6,000 strong and will increase to around 7,700 service personnel over the course of the year. The majority of this force is deployed in the South. In addition, the UK also provides service personnel in support of the Headquarters for the ISAF and for OEF, both of which are in Kabul.

The UK force deploying to Afghanistan over the course of 2007 includes elements of the following Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army and Royal Air Force units:

Helmand

Kandahar

Please note: not all listed units may be present at one time since rotations take place on a regular basis

Operations in Afghanistan: British Fatalities

It is with very deep regret that the Ministry of Defence has confirmed the following fatalities suffered during operations in Afghanistan.

As at 12 July 2007, a total of 64 British Forces personnel or MOD civilians have died while serving in Afghanistan since the start of operations in November 2001.

Of these, 41 are classed as Killed in Action or Died of Wounds sustained from Action (36 are classed as Killed in Action, 5 are classed as Died of Wounds sustained from Action).

23 are known to have died either as a result of illness, non-combat injuries or accidents, or have not yet officially been assigned a cause of death pending the outcome of an investigation. The balance of these figures may change as inquests are concluded.


A soldier from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards was killed near Gereshk in Helmand province, souther Afghanistan on Thursday 12 July 2007.


Sergeant Dave Wilkinson, from 19 Regiment Royal Artillery died following an explosion during a routine joint patrol with the Afghan National Army in Gereshk, Helmand province on Sunday 1 July 2007.


Captain Sean Dolan of the 1st Battalion, The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment, died as a result of a mortar round in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on Saturday 30 June 2007.


Drummer Thomas Wright, 21, from 1st Battalion The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment, was killed on Sunday 24 June 2007 when the vehicle he was travelling in was caught in an explosion near Lashkar Gah, Helmand province.


Guardsman Neil 'Tony' Downes was killed on Saturday 9 June 2007 when his vehicle was hit by an explosion on a patrol with the Afghan National Army close to the town of Sangin in Helmand province, Afghanistan.


Lance Corporal Paul "Sandy" Sandford, from 1st Battalion The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters, was killed while taking part in an offensive patrol with his company aimed at disrupting Taliban forces in the Upper Gereshk Valley area of Helmand Province on Wednesday 6 June 2007.


Corporal Mike Gilyeat, from the Royal Military Police, died on Wednesday 30 May 2007 when the American Chinook helicopter he was travelling in crashed in the Kajaki area of northern Helmand.


Corporal Darren Bonner of the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment died on Monday 28 May 2007, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, as a result of an incident involving an explosive device.


Guardsman Daniel Probyn from 1st Battalion the Grenadier Guards died on Saturday 26 May 2007 following an overnight operation in Garmsir, southern Afghanistan.


Lance Corporal George Russell Davey was killed on Sunday 20 May 2007 as a result of injuries sustained in a tragic accident at the British base in Sangin, Afghanistan.


Guardsman Simon Davison, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards was killed by small arms fire in the town of Garmsir on Thursday 3 May 2007.


Private Chris Gray was killed in action whilst fighting the Taliban in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Friday 13 April 2007.


Warrant Officer Class 2 Michael Smith from 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery died from injuries sustained when a grenade was fired at the UK base in Sangin, Helmand Province, on Thursday 8 March 2007.


Marine Benjamin Reddy of 42 Commando Royal Marines was killed when his unit came under fire in the Kajaki area of Helmand Province on Tuesday 6 March 2007.



Lance Bombardier Ross Clark and Lance Bombardier Liam McLaughlin, both of 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, were killed during a rocket attack in the Sangin area of Helmand province on Saturday 3 March 2007.



Marine Scott Summers of 42 Commando Royal Marines died as a result of injuries sustained in a road traffic accident earlier that month in Afghanistan on Wednesday 21 February 2007.


Royal Marine Jonathan Holland, from 45 Commando was killed by an anti-personnel mine during a routine patrol in the Sangin District of Helmand province on 21 February 2007.


It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Lance Corporal Mathew Ford, from 45 Commando Royal Marines, in Afghanistan on Monday 15 January 2007.


Royal Marine Thomas Curry died on Saturday 13 January 2007 when elements of 42 Commando Royal Marines were engaged in a deliberate offensive operation near Kajaki, in Northern Helmand, Afghanistan.


Lance Bombardier James Dwyer was killed when the vehicle he was driving struck an anti-tank mine whilst on a patrol in southern Helmand on Wednesday 27 December 2006.


Marine Richard J Watson was killed on Tuesday 12 December 2006, in Now Zad, in the North of Helmand, Afghanistan.


Marine Jonathan Wigley died as a result of wounds sustained during an operation on the outskirts of the village of Garmsir, southern Helmand, on Tuesday 5 December 2006.


Marine Gary Wright died as a result of injuries sustained when a suicide-borne improvised explosive device detonated next to the vehicle in which he was patrolling in Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan on 19 October 2006.


Lance Corporal Paul Muirhead, who was very seriously injured during an attack by insurgents in northern Helmand Province on Friday 1 September 2006, died from his injuries on Wednesday 6 September 2006.


Lance Corporal Luke McCulloch of 1 Royal Irish Regiment died as a result of a contact with insurgent forces in northern Helmand Province on Wednesday 6 September 2006.


Corporal Mark William Wright was killed when a routine patrol encountered an unmarked minefield in the region of Kajaki, Helmand Province on Wednesday 6 September 2006.


Private Craig O'Donnell was killed after the military convoy he was travelling in was attacked by a suspected suicide bomber in Kabul on Monday 4 September 2006.


Fourteen personnel were killed following the crash of a Nimrod MR2 aircraft on Saturday 2 September 2006. They were:


Ranger Anare Draiva of 1 Royal Irish Regiment, died during a contact in Helmand Province at 1600 local time on Friday 1 September 2006.


Lance Corporal Jonathan Peter Hetherington died following an attack on the Platoon House in Musa Qal'eh, northern Helmand Province in the early hours of 27 August 2006.


Corporal Bryan James Budd was killed as a result of injuries sustained during a fire fight with Taliban forces in Sangin, Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan on Sunday 20 August 2006.


Lance Corporal Sean Tansey from The Life Guards was killed in an accident at a UK military base in Northern Helmand province on the afternoon of Saturday 12 August 2006.


Private Leigh Reeves was killed in a Road Traffic Accident at Camp Souter in Kabul on Wednesday 9 August 2006.


Private Andrew Barrie Cutts was killed during operations against insurgent positions in Helmand Province on Sunday 6 August 2006.


Captain Alex Eida, Second Lieutenant Ralph Johnson and Lance Corporal Ross Nicholls were killed following an incident involving insurgent forces in northern Helmand Province on the morning of Tuesday 1 August 2006.


Private Damien Jackson of 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment was killed in an incident involving insurgent forces on Wednesday 5 July 2006.


Corporal Peter Thorpe and Lance Corporal Jabron Hashmi, from the 3rd Para Battlegroup, were killed following an incident in Sangin, Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan on 1 July 2006.


Captain David Patten and Sergeant Paul Bartlett were killed on the morning of 27 June 2006 in Helmand Province.


Captain Jim Philippson 7 Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery died in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan on the evening of Sunday 11 June 2006 when the mobile patrol in which he was travelling was engaged in a firefight against suspected Taliban forces.


Lance Corporal Peter Edward Craddock of 1st Battalion The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment died as a result of a road traffic accident in Lashkar Gah, Southern Afghanistan on Monday 27 March 2006.


Corporal Mark Cridge of 7 Signal Regiment died in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, on 22 March 2006.


Lance Corporal Steven Sherwood of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry was killed on 29 October 2005, as a result of hostile action in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. Five other members of Sherwood's patrol were injured when they came under fire.


Private Jonathan Kitulagoda was killed, and four soldiers injured, by an apparent suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan on Wednesday 28 January 2004. Private Kitulagoda was aged 23 and came from Plymouth where he was a student. A member of the Rifle Volunteers, a Territorial Army battalion, he was serving in Kabul with the International Security Assistance Force.


Sergeant Robert Busuttil and Corporal John Gregory, both aged thirty, died from gunshot wounds at the British base at Kabul International Airport, on 17 August 2002.


Private Darren John George from the Royal Anglian Regiment died on Tuesday 9 April 2002 following an incident during a security patrol in Kabul.

Operations In Afghanistan: British Casualties

The Ministry of Defence has published the following casualty figures for Operation HERRICK. These figures are updated every two weeks, two weeks in arrears.

All casualties suffered by UK Forces are a source of profound regret. UK personnel put their lives on the line to help the people of Afghanistan to build a strong and stable country; we cannot pay high enough tribute to the job that they are doing, or the sacrifice some of them have made.

The MOD is committed to publishing casualty statistics, openly and on our website. While we do not publish statistics for all personnel who require minor treatment, we do record details for all personnel who need to be admitted to our field hospitals with more serious injuries and with diseases.

The Defence Medical Services aspire to provide first class treatment for all injured or ill Service personnel, aiming to restore them to full fitness or, where this is not possible, to the best state of health their condition permits. We also work closely with the NHS to ensure a smooth transition into NHS care when responsibility for their healthcare transfers at the point of demobilisation for reservists or discharge for regulars.

For the period 7 October 2001 to 31 December 2005:

Centrally available records show that:

Work continues to verify and validate data for aeromedical evacuations and field hospital admission in both Iraq and Afghanistan prior to January 2006. Once this data is compiled it will be added to the website.

For the period 1 January 2006 to 7 June 2007:

Centrally available records show that:

For further details see:
Op Herrick Casualty and Fatality Tables incorporating historical data

Frequently Asked Questions

What medical facilities are available for UK troops operating in Afghanistan?
The UK currently has ten ‘Role 1’ facilities (with doctors and medics working in Camp Souter (Kabul), Camp Bastion, (Helmand), Kandahar, Lashkar Gar, Sangin, Gereshk, Now Zad and Musa Qala. At the combat outpost in Helmand (COP Robinson) and Kajaki we have medics only. Whether there are Doctors, medics or nurses at any one location at any time depends on the operational requirement. Role One facilities are Primary Health Care facilities generally consisting of one doctor, medics and nurses. Patients are not admitted to role 1 facilities, but are treated for minor ailments or injuries there or initially receive treatment there before being referred to a Role 2 or Role 3 facility if injuries/illness are more significant.

We have a 'Role 2 Enhanced' facility at Camp Bastion where the more seriously ill and injured are treated. This has an intensive care and high-dependency facility, as well as surgical, medical, A+E, physiotherapy, and dental, mental health, x-ray and laboratory facilities.

The HQ of Multinational Brigade (South) in Kandahar maintain a 'Role 3' facility which provides support for ISAF and Coalition personnel. This facility includes additional capabilities to that of the Role 2 including specialist diagnostic resources, specifically a CT scanner, specialist surgical and medical capabilities.

In Kabul, UK Personnel may be admitted to either the French or Greek Role 2 facility. There is also a US facility which provides physiotherapy and dentistry. In total, the UK will be deploying some 300 medical staff to support the operation.

What is NOTICAS reporting?
Notification of Casualty (or "NOTICAS") is the name for the formalised system of reporting casualties within the UK Armed Forces. It sets in train the MOD’s next of kin informing procedure. NOTICAS is taken extremely seriously – as the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Policy and procedures set out, NOTICAS reports are to be raised for every casualty and the reporting process is undertaken as quickly and sensitively as possible, it takes precedence over all but the most urgent operational and security matters.

What do 'Seriously Injured' and 'Very Seriously Injured' mean?
The NOTICAS reports raised for casualties contain information on how seriously medical staff in theatre judge their condition to be. This information is used to inform what the next of kin are told. "VSI" and "SI" are the two most serious categories into which personnel can be classified:

The VSI and SI categories are defined by Joint Casualty and Compassionate Policy and Procedures. They are not strictly ‘medical categories’ but are designed to give an indication of the severity of the illness to inform what the individual’s next of kin are told.  In the figures for Operation HERRICK (Afghanistan) and Operation TELIC (Iraq) we have excluded those individuals categorised as VSI or SI whose condition was identified to be caused by illness, to produce figures for the number of UK personnel categorised as VSI and SI whatever the cause of the injury, but excluding illnesses.

What is the figure for personnel ‘Wounded in action, including as a result of hostile action’?
This figure is based on Wounded in Action figures, including those wounded as a result of hostile action and is derived from admission data returns from the UK Role 2 enhanced facility in Camp Bastion, the Canadian Role 3 facility in Kandahar and the French and Greek Role 2 facilities in Kabul.

What do the 'medical evacuation' figures mean?
These figures give the total number of UK personnel who have been evacuated from Afghanistan by air on medical grounds, whatever the reason (known as ‘aeromeds’).

What is a non-battle injury?
Any injury that is not caused by a hostile act – examples could include a sports injury or a road traffic accident.

What improvements have you made to the way casualty figures are collected and reported?
Since 28 October 2006 we have been able to provide data on the personnel admitted to medical facilities as a result of disease, as well as for non-battle injury. This was a challenge because these statistics include data provided by other ISAF nations in Afghanistan, who do not use the same definitions of disease.  This additional reporting has been brought about by improvements in tracking of this category of personnel, and brings the reporting of statistics for casualties in Afghanistan into line with reporting for casualties in Iraq. 

Furthermore, since 28 October 2006 improvements in the way the data is recorded in theatre, collated, and analysed back in the UK have made it possible for updates to be provided every two weeks, two weeks in arrears, rather than monthly, one month in arrears.

Press Information for UK Military Operations in Afghanistan

Official points of contact for journalists wishing to obtain information relating to UK military operations in Afghanistan

Media wishing to make enquiries about UK military operations in Afghanistan should contact:

Media Visits to Afghanistan

Operations in Iraq: Background Briefing

Saddam's breach of United Nations resolutions

In November 2002, the UN declared that it would no longer tolerate the Iraqi regime's continuing defiance of international law. UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1441 was unanimously adopted, declaring Iraq to be in material breach of previous resolutions, and setting out new procedures for the conduct of inspections, together with the threat of serious consequences in the event of Iraqi non-cooperation. The resolution provided a final opportunity for Iraq to comply with its disarmament obligations and UNMOVIC (United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission) inspectors were eventually allowed back later that month. Subsequent reports by UNMOVIC and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) showed clearly, however, that not only was Iraq failing to offer active co-operation but it was engaged in a systematic pattern of concealment and deceit.

In view of the Iraqi regime's failure to comply with the will of the United Nations, and based on the authority provided by a series of UN resolutions since 1991, the UK joined a US-led coalition that was prepared to use force as a last resort to secure Iraqi compliance. The Government's overriding political objective was to disarm Saddam of his weapons of mass destruction, which threatened his neighbours and his people. It also undertook to support the Iraqi people in their desire for peace, prosperity, freedom and good government.

On 24 February 2003, the UK, the US and Spain tabled a draft resolution, making it clear that Iraq had failed to take the opportunity provided in UNSCR 1441. Despite significant diplomatic efforts, by 18 March 2003 the Government and its coalition partners had concluded that the diplomatic process had been exhausted and that, unless Saddam Hussein complied with a final ultimatum, there would be no alternative to military action against the Iraqi regime.

UK Forces and the Military Campaign

The military campaign proper began in the early hours of 20 March 2003, some 90 minutes after the expiry of a US ultimatum for Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq. Following intelligence about the location of senior members of the Iraqi leadership, US aircraft and a number of cruise missiles struck regime targets around Baghdad. Iraqi forces responded by launching missiles into Kuwait, forcing Coalition troops and Kuwaiti civilians to don Nuclear Biological and Chemical (NBC) protective clothing as a precaution.

The land offensive began on 20 March 2003, less than 24 hours after the first bomb was dropped.  An early objective was to seize the Al Faw peninsula, to secure access to the strategically important port of Umm Qasr. Coalition forces, led by 40 Commando (and subsequently 42 Commando) Royal Marines, launched an amphibious assault on the peninsula, using helicopters from the UK's Joint Helicopter Command and a variety of landing craft, supported by three Royal Navy frigates providing fire support.

The securing of the Al Faw peninsula and the Rumaylah oilfields by UK and US forces was a key early success for the coalition, allowing Coalition forces to press north. It was important to prevent Iraqi forces using Basrah, Iraq's second largest city, as a base for attacks on coalition lines of communication. Within four days UK forces had taken Basrah’s airport, despite encountering significant Iraqi resistance, and began expanding their area of control in the surrounding region.

After several days of raids, UK forces entered the nearby town of As Zubayr, south-west of Basrah. By 6 April 2003, British Commanders judged that conditions were right to enter Basrah itself in strength. UK forces launched assaults from three directions, encountering only patchy resistance, and stormed the Ba'ath Party headquarters. Careful timing minimised casualties on both sides. UK forces were welcomed by the local people, and although there was some looting during the first few days targeted at symbols of the Ba'ath regime, the city soon began to return to something resembling normal life. UK commanders quickly established contact with local leaders and assisted in restoring a functioning police force. The first joint UK-Iraqi police patrols took place just one week after Basrah had been liberated.

UK forces' control of south-east Iraq helped US troops to push swiftly towards Baghdad. Within four days of the start of the operation the US Army was at An Najaf, some 60 miles from Baghdad, while US Marines were pressing north along a different route towards Al Kut. After several days of consolidating their position while attacking Iraqi forces with artillery and aircraft, US forces engaged the Republican Guard divisions around Baghdad. By 4 April 2003 they had seized the city outskirts, including the International Airport, and began to make successful forays within the city boundaries.

By 8 April 2003, US Forces had secured the city approaches and US troops had visited Saddam's palaces in central Baghdad, and that night US troops maintained positions in central Baghdad overnight for the first time. On 9 April 2003 crowds gathered in the centre of the city to welcome coalition forces and destroy symbols of the old regime. By now the west and north of Iraq had largely been secured, and a few days later the northern cities of Tikrit, Mosul and Kirkuk fell to coalition troops. On 14 April 2003 the Prime Minister informed the House of Commons that:

"Less than four weeks after the commencement of the war, the regime of Saddam is gone, the bulk of Iraq is under coalition control, and the vast majority of Iraqis are rejoicing at Saddam's departure.

Reconstruction and the political process

Since the end of major combat operations in April 2003, the UK has been playing a full part in the re-building of Iraq, both in terms of restoring essential infrastructure and services, and through the establishment of conditions for a stable and law-abiding Iraqi government.

British Forces, along with their US and other allies in the UN-mandated Multi-National Force, continue to work with the new, democratically-elected Iraqi Government to restore normality, maintain security and counter the insurgents determined to bring chaos and undermine the democratic process.

This work culminated in Iraq's first democratic elections for decades in January 2005. Since then, a draft constitution has been agreed in the Iraqi Transitional National Assembly, which was followed on 15 October 2005 by a referendum. This gave the people of Iraq the opportunity to vote on the constitution. On 25 October 2005 the Iraqi Electoral Commission announced that the constitution had successfully passed. This was followed by parliamentary elections in December 2005.

On 21 September 2005 the then UK Secretary of State for Defence, John Reid, met the Prime Minister of the Iraqi Transitional Government, Dr Ibrahim al-Ja'afari in London. They affirmed their joint commitment to lasting security in Iraq, and at a press conference following the meeting, John Reid said:

"Our plan remains exactly the same, and that is to stay in Iraq until such time as the democratically-elected government has developed sufficient forces to counter terrorism and to preserve the security of democracy in Iraq."

The 15 December 2005 elections passed off largely peacefully. Attack levels were down on both the January 2005 elections and October 2005 referendum. More than 15 million Iraqis were registered and eligible to vote. Over 12 million Iraqis voted, representing a turnout of over 75%.

The final uncertified results were announced on 20 January. The Shia-led United Iraqi Alliance obtained 128 seats out of 275, with Kurdish parties gaining 53 and the main Sunni Arab block 44. Following the decision of the Transitional Electoral Panel not to uphold the final appeals, on 10 February, in a televised press conference, the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) announced the final certified results of the 15 December election. There was no change to the uncertified results released on 20 January.

On 16 March 2006, the new permanent Iraqi parliament, the Council of Representatives, convened for the first time. The session was chaired by acting speaker Adnan Pachachi. This representative body will serve as the basis for establishing a broad-based government of national unity for Iraq.

In its session on 22 April, the Council of Representatives (CoR) elected its:

    • Speaker (Mahmoud Mashhadani – Tawafuq/NDC)
    • Two deputy speakers (Khalid Attiya – UIA/Independent and Aref Tayfur – Kurdistan Alliance/KDP)
    • The three-man presidency council.

Jalal Talabani remains as President with Adel Abdul Mehdi (UIA/SCIRI) and Tareq Al-Hashimi (Tawafuq/IIP) as vice presidents. The presidency council subsequently charged Nouri Al-Maliki with forming a government; Maliki was given until 22 May 2006 to present his cabinet and ministerial programme to the CoR.

Prime Minister Maliki announced his government of national unity on 20 May 2006, albeit without permanent Defence, Interior or National Security ministers. These positions were permanently filled on 8 June 2006.

Operations in Iraq: Key Facts & Figures

Coalition Military Presence in Iraq

The Multi-National Force (Iraq) remains at the formal request of the Iraqi Government, under a mandate from the United Nations, set out in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1723.

The mission of MNF-I is, in partnership with the Iraqi Government to organise, train, and equip the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) in order to create a security environment that permits the handover of security to the Iraqis, and to conduct operations against former regime extremists and foreign terrorists.

In total 25 Countries contribute to the MNF-I: Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Singapore, South Korea, Ukraine, UK, and the US.

Command and control of MNF-I military operations is the responsibility of the US-led Multi-National Corps – Iraq (or MNC-I) which is headquartered in Baghdad. MNC-I activities in Iraq are divided into six geographical regions, each with its own Multi-National Force and associated headquarters. The UK is the lead nation for Multi-National Division (South East), or MND(SE), which covers the South-Eastern area of Iraq including Basrah, Iraq's second largest city.

The responsibility for security in seven provinces (Muthanna, Dhi Qar and Maysan in the UK-led area of responsibility in the south-east, and elsewhere in Iraq, Najaf, Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk) has been handed over to Iraqi control. Coalition forces will continue to support Iraqi forces in these provinces if called upon to do so. We expect to see the democratically elected Iraqi Government and its Security Forces continue to progressively take responsibility for security across the country, as and when conditions on the ground permit.

UK Military Personnel in Iraq

UK military operations in Iraq are being conducted under the name 'Operation TELIC'. UK forces in Iraq are a part of the United-States-led Multi-National Force – Iraq (or MNF-I).

Following the most recent roulement of UK forces in Iraq, announced by the Prime Minister on 21 February 2007, there are now around 5,500 British troops serving in Iraq. This roulement was a routine rotation of UK Armed Forces in Southern Iraq, and completed in May 2007.

The total number of UK personnel deployed on Operation TELIC as a whole is higher – around 6,800 – as this includes personnel involved in the operation but not situated in Iraq itself (for example Royal Navy ships in the Gulf).

The number of UK military personnel deployed in Iraq has changed over time:

  • Peak during Major Combat Operations (March/April 2003): 46,000
  • At the end of May 2003: 18,000
  • At the end of May 2004: 8,600
  • At the end of May 2005: 8,500
  • At the end of May 2006: 7,200
  • At the end of May 2007: 5,500

The overwhelming majority of UK personnel in Iraq are based in south east Iraq, with a small number based in Baghdad and around the country to liaise and co-ordinate with other coalition and Iraqi forces. A complete list of UK Forces deployed on Operation TELIC can be found here here.

UK forces' efforts in Iraq are mainly targeted at helping the Iraqis develop their own effective security forces (known as "Security Sector Reform"). Assisting the Iraqis to improve the security environment remains our top priority.

Along with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development, UK forces are also helping the Iraqis to rebuild their country after the conflict and years of neglect, and supporting the political process.

Political Progress

Iraqis adopted a new permanent constitution by referendum in October 2005, with a turnout of 63%. The constitution defines Iraq as democratic and pluralist.

Iraqis have their first ever democratically-elected government. The elections held in December 2005 saw a turnout of over 12m, or 76% of the electorate. On 20 May 2006, Iraq's new Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, announced his Government of National Unity.

The Iraqi government is fully sovereign, except in the area of security, where an agreed transition strategy is resulting in the progressive transfer of sovereign responsibility to the Iraqi government and local authorities.

The democratically elected government is properly representative of all of Iraq's major communities, as opposed to minority-based dictatorship.

Security Sector Reform across Iraq

No one is under any illusion that the security situation in parts of Iraq is extremely serious, but It should be remembered that MNF-I ended a brutal dictatorship where torture and murder were state policy.

We are building up the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) – over 345,000 members of the ISF have now been trained. Their capabilities and commitment are increasing, and they are increasingly taking the lead on operations. The Iraqi Army and Police Service are taking the lead in the Baghdad Security Plan (official name: 'Fardh al Qanoon'), with support as necessary from the Multi-National Force.

Transition from MNF to ISF control has occurred in seven provinces and is progressing steadily.

With effect from 1 January 2007, the Iraqi Ground Force Command (IGFC) assumed command of the Iraqi Army.

Security Sector Reform in UK-led MND(SE)

Baghdad and its environs account for around 80% of the violence in Iraq. The security situation is better, particularly in the north and south of the country. In the four provinces within MND(SE) – Maysan, Basrah, Dhi Qar, and Al Muthanna, there is very little sectarian conflict; the challenges are criminality, infighting between Shia factions, and the corrosive influence of the militias.

Al Muthanna, Dhi Qar and Maysan provinces are now under Iraqi control. We hope that that Basrah can be transferred to full Iraqi control in the second half of the 2007.

The 10th Division of the Iraqi Army, based in the south, has proven itself during 'Operation SINBAD' (see below) which ran from September 2006 to March 2007). They are now planning and leading security operations in Basrah with minimal or no coalition support. The two 10th Division battalions deployed to Baghdad as part of Fardh al Qanoon arrived on time and in full strength, and have performed well.

A Provincial Joint Command Centre has been established to coordinate security in Basrah. Iraqi police and military officers sit side by side in the Centre and are mentored by coalition advisers.

The UK has helped the Iraqi police set up an Internal Affairs Department to root out unacceptable behaviour within police ranks. The corrupt Serious Crimes Unit has also been abolished.

Sufficient numbers of police stations within Basrah city are now assessed at a satisfactory standard to enable transfer of Basrah province to Iraqi control, which we expect to be announced later this year, depending on conditions.

Iraqi soldiers, police and border guards in the south will benefit from a Joint Leadership Academy which the UK is setting up in Basrah later this year. This will provide a wide range of courses to develop professional standards for Iraqi officers.

The UK has helped train Iraqi police and soldiers in the UK. Those trained have then returned to Iraq to help train others.

The Divisional Training Centre where the Iraqi Army undergoes basic training is up and running.

Operation SINBAD: Summary

In conjunction with security training and operations by MNF and Iraqi Forces, Operation SINBAD completed around 550 projects to improve the local environment including neighbourhood projects, infrastructure and agricultural development. As at March 2007 these included:

  • 212km of new water pipe laid in an $18 million project which employed 2,310 people at its peak.
  • Five Medium-level Electrical Distribution Projects worth $9.8million ongoing until Jul 2007 and seven other local distribution projects completed.
  • 70,000 Date Palm offshoots planted with another 70,000 to be planted by June 2007 in a $12 million project to reinvigorate the regionally significant Date Palm industry.
  • 336 schools refurbished and basic supplies delivered.
  • 51 football pitches and other sporting facilities built or refurbished.
  • 41 Projects to supply equipment of refurbish medical facilities completed.
  • 29 Area Clearance Projects carried out.
  • Six footbridges have been refurbished.
  • 81 other miscellaneous projects.
  • 24,478 short term jobs created.

Although Operation SINBAD has now been completed, 'SINBAD-type' operations continue to be carried out in and around Basrah by ISF with coalition support as required.

Reconstruction across Iraq

By 2003 Iraq had suffered more than 20 years of conflict, mismanagement and chronic under-investment under Saddam Hussein's regime.

The UK pledged £544m for reconstruction projects at the Madrid Conference in 2003. The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, increased this by £100m when he visited Basrah in November 2006, and the Foreign Secretary pledged a further £100m in May 2007, making a total UK commitment of £744m. The funding has helped in the following areas:

  • Over five million children have received life-saving vaccinations. There has been a resulting decline in the prevalence of polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and malaria. And 1,000 healthcare facilities have been rehabilitated or equipped and more than 6,000 staff trained.
  • Access to safe drinking water dropped by one third under the previous regime. Now, twenty potable water treatment facilities have been built or rehabilitated, and nine centralized sewage treatment facilities have been rehabilitated. By late 2007, one million people will have improved access to water.
  • Iraq dropped from 76 to 126 on the Human Development Index under Saddam Hussein. Now, with the support of the international community, for example, education services are being restored, thousands of teachers are being trained, over 5,000 schools have been rehabilitated and a further 450 are in progress.

Other significant progress:

  • Oil production is now around two million barrels per day. Production and export facilities are much more secure.
  • Increased oil production and prices have increased Iraq's revenues from $US18bn (2002) to $US29bn (2005,2006) and a projected rise to $31bn (2007).
  • More than 100,000 primary and 40,000 secondary teachers have been trained.
  • Over five million children have received life-saving vaccinations.
  • 2,500 Iraqi NGOs are now registered with the Iraqi government and trade unions.
  • 216 judges, lawyers and officials have been trained in International Human Rights Law.
  • Over 3,000 women and young people in the south have been trained in business skills.
  • Over 180 journalists have been trained in independent journalism and feature writing.
  • 250 newspapers and magazines have been launched. New TV and radio stations have been set up.

Reconstruction in Basrah

In the last decade of Saddam's regime, the central government systematically starved Basrah and the south of funding, and also imposed various punitive measures such as the draining of the marshes, with inevitable damage to infrastructure and economic prospects. Improvements have been made in:

Electricity

Basrawis have benefited from:

  • Electricity transmission and distribution networks repaired post-conflict.
  • Transmission lines from Hartha power station to Basrah city repaired – securing electricity supplies for 1.5 million residents.
  • Repairing the Hartha power station chimney – securing 170MW - equivalent to enough power for a 24hr supply to 340,000 people (about as many people as live in Cardiff).
  • Added and secured 350 MW of electricity and will be adding or securing a further 120 MW over the next 6 months. This is the equivalent to what is needed to provide 24 hours of power for around 1 million people.

Water and sanitation

  • Replaced 200 km of water mains, repaired over 5,000 leaks, cleared out 7,000 septic tanks and cleared over 40 kms of drains.
  • Constructed a water training centre in Basrah to increase the skills of Iraqi engineers in water treatment and leakage repair. 200 engineers are currently being trained.
  • Refurbished a reverse osmosis unit to supply potable water to about 500,000 people.
  • Technical advice was provided for a major sewage installation in Al Amarah, Maysan Province, providing up to half the city's population with access to a piped system and replacing open sewage channels.
  • Improved water supply to 60,000 people in Al Amtahiyah (Basrah Province).

DFID power and water projects will employ around 450 people, generate almost 100,000 workdays and secure around 17,000 workdays per year for operation and maintenance.

Institution-building

  • The focus of our efforts has been to build capacity of local authorities to plan for, access and spend central and local funds.
  • In Basrah, supported production of the first ever Provincial Development Strategy by the Provincial Council.
  • On the back of this work, Basrah Provincial Council was able to access $US172 million of central government funding in 2006 and $205 million in 2007 (after receiving none in 2005) and is undertaking more than 300 local reconstruction projects based on this work.
  • Refurbished Governorate offices; trained Governorates officials
    Built up financial management and budgeting capacity of governorates.
  • 216 Iraqi judges, lawyers and prosecutors trained in human rights, international humanitarian law, and independence of the judiciary.

Private sector development

  • Established a local Business Journal and Business Information Centre.
  • Over 3,000 women and young people in the south trained in business and enterprise skills.

Agriculture

  • 60 Agricultural directorate staff trained in administrative, IT and planning skills.
  • Restoration of the marshlands in Basrah, Maysan and Dhi Qar. Return of Marsh Arabs.
  • Growth in tomato, rice and wheat production.

The cost of UK Military Operations in Iraq

The Ministry of Defence identifies the costs of military operations in terms of the net additional costs it has incurred, over and above planned expenditure on defence. The costs of our operations in Iraq come from the Treasury Special Reserve.

The overall cost of operations in Iraq in 2002–2003 was £848M.

The overall cost of operations in Iraq in 2003–2004 was £1311M. These costs include the costs of combat operations from 1 April 2003, the costs incurred in maintaining and supporting subsequent peacekeeping operations and the costs of recuperating operational capability afterwards.

The cost for 2004–2005 was £910M.

The cost for 2005–06 was £958M.

Numbers of Internees held by the UK in Iraq

Security internment by Multi-National Forces in Iraq (MNF-I) is authorised by United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1546 and further extended by UNSCRs 1637 and 1723 which enable the coalition to intern for imperative reasons of security. Our right to intern under the UNSCR was confirmed in the UK Court of Appeal in 2006.

The power to intern is not taken lightly. It is a power that is used sparingly. We have no interest in interning individuals in Iraq other than to protect Iraqi security personnel and civilians, and British servicemen and women, from attack.

To ensure a stable security situation it is important that those individuals who are trying to jeopardise the situation are stopped. In some cases, this means internment.

Cases for internment are reviewed regularly in a process that involves the Iraqi authorities. The UK allows all internees to have access to lawyers and to their families on a regular basis in accordance with international law.

When possible internee's cases are transferred to the Iraqi criminal justice system for prosecution or are released when the grounds for internment no longer exist.

The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) has regular and open access to our detention facility and all our internees. The facility has also been visited by a team from the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights.

From 1 January 2007, the Ministry of Defence has published the following figures for the numbers of Internees held by the UK in Iraq:

Iraq Internee Numbers Table

Updates will be made monthly to the number of internees being held.

Operations in Iraq: Details of British and Coalition forces

List of UK units deployed to the theatre of operations plus links to Coalition information.

The UK provides the leadership of the Multi-National Division (South-East) which has UK, Australian, Romanian, Danish, Czech and Lithuanian troops under its command.

UK Forces in theatre (as at 1 June 2007)

The UK sea component includes the Royal Navy vessels currently on duty in the Gulf:

The UK Land component includes the following British Army units deployed in Iraq:

The UK air component deployed includes the following units:

Operations in Iraq: British Fatalities

It is with very deep regret that the Ministry of Defence has confirmed the following fatalities suffered during Operation TELIC.

As at 8 July 2007, a total of 159 British Armed Forces personnel or MOD civilians have died serving on Operation TELIC since the start of the campaign in March 2003.

Of these, 123 are classed as Killed in Action or Died of Wounds (100 are classed as Killed in Action and 23 are classed as Died of Wounds sustained from Action).

36 are known to have died either as a result of illness, non-combat injuries or accidents, or have not yet officially been assigned a cause of death pending the outcome of an investigation.

The balance of these figures may change as inquests are concluded.


Corporal Christopher Read, of 158 Provost Company, 3rd Regiment Royal Military Police, died as a result of injuries that he sustained during a large scale operation in the early hours of the morning, Saturday 7 July 2007.


Lance Corporal Ryan Francis 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh died during a large scale operation in Basra City in the early hours of the morning, Saturday 7 July 2007.


Rifleman Edward Vakabua, aged 23, from 4th Battalion The Rifles died at the Basra Palace base in Basra City, southern Iraq on Friday 6 July 2007.


Three soldiers died in Basra, southern Iraq following a roadside bomb attack on the morning of Thursday 28 June 2007.


Corporal John Rigby 4th Battalion The Rifles, aged 24, from Rye, died from injuries sustained by a roadside bomb attack in Basra on Friday 22 June 2007.


Major Paul Harding 4th Battalion The Rifles killed in Iraq died as a result of an indirect fire attack on the Provincial Joint Coordination Centre in Basra in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday 20 June 2007.


Lance Corporal James Cartwright of Badger Squadron, 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, died following a vehicle accident in Southern Iraq at around 0100hrs on the morning of 16 June 2007.


Corporal Rodney Wilson, from 4th Battalion The Rifles, was killed during a search and detention operation in the Al Atiyah district, north west of Basra City on Thursday 7 June 2007


Corporal Jeremy Brookes, 4th Battalion The Rifles was killed in a small arms fire attack whilst on a routine patrol in the Al Tuwaysa district of Basra City on Monday 21 May 2007.


Private Kevin Thompson, Royal Logistic Corps, was very seriously injured when a vehicle he was travelling on in Basra was struck by an improvised explosive device attack. He was flown back to the UK but sadly died from his injuries on Sunday 6 May 2007.


Major Nick Bateson, Royal Corps of Signals, was killed in a road traffic accident in Basra, southern Iraq, on Tuesday 1 May 2007.


Rifleman Paul Donnachie, 2nd Battalion The Rifles (2 RIFLES) was killed in a small arms fire attack whilst on a routine patrol in the Al Ashar district, east of central Basra, on Sunday 29 April 2007.


Kingsman Alan Joseph Jones, from 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, died when his Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle Platoon came under small arms fire on Monday 23 April 2007.


Corporal Ben Leaning and Trooper Kristen Turton, both of the The Queen's Royal Lancers were killed when their Scimitar Armoured Reconnaissance vehicle was hit by an IED in Maysan Province, Southern Iraq, on Thursday 19 April 2007.


Colour Sergeant M L Powell, of the Parachute Regiment, and Sergeant Mark J McLaren, RAF, were killed when two Puma helicopters crashed in Iraq on Sunday 15 April 2007.


Four British servicemen and women, and a local civilian interpreter, were killed in a roadside bomb attack west of Basra on 5 April 2007.


Rifleman Aaron Lincoln, of the 2nd Battalion, The Rifles died as a result of injuries sustained during a patrol in Basra City, Iraq on Monday 2 April 2007.


Kingsman Wilson, aged 28, of the 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, died as a result of injuries sustained during a patrol in Basra City on 1 April 2007.


Private Jonathon Dany Wysoczan, First Battalion The Staffordshire Regiment, died in the UK on Sunday 4 March 2007 from injuries sustained during a patrol in Basra, Iraq.


Rifleman Daniel Lee Coffey, C Company, Second Battalion The Rifles, died as a result of injuries sustained during a patrol in north Basra, Iraq on Tuesday 27 February 2007.


Private Luke Daniel Simpson, 1st Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, died on Friday 9 February 2007 as a result of injuries sustained when the vehicle he was driving was hit by a roadside bomb.


Second Lieutenant Jonathan Bracho-Cooke, 24, of 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment died on Monday 5 February 2007 as a result of injuries sustained by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack against his patrol in the As Sarraji District of Basra City.


Private Michael Tench, aged 18, of A Company, 2nd Battalion The Light Infantry, died on Sunday 21 January 2007, as a result of injuries sustained from an Improvised Explosive Device placed at a roadside in Basrah City, Southern Iraq.


Kingsman Alexander William Green was killed in Iraq on Saturday 13 January 2007. He died as a result of injuries sustained earlier in the morning when shot by small arms fire whilst on a task in the Hayy Al Muhandisn District of Basra City.


Sergeant Wayne Rees, from The Queen's Royal Lancers died following a road traffic accident in southern Iraq on Sunday 7 January 2007.


Sergeant Graham Hesketh, from 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, was killed on Thursday 28 December 2006 during a routine patrol in Basra City.


Sergeant Jonathan Hollingsworth, from the Parachute Regiment, died following a planned search and detention operation in Basra City, on Friday 24 November 2006.


Warrant Officer Class 2 Lee Hopkins, Royal Corps of Signals, Staff Sergeant Sharron Elliott of the Intelligence Corps, Corporal Ben Nowak of 45 Commando Royal Marines and Marine Jason Hylton of 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines were killed in an attack on a Multi-National Forces boat patrol on the Shatt Al-Arab waterway in Basra city, on Sunday 12 November 2006.


Kingsman Jamie Lee Hancock of 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, died as a result of injuries sustained during small arms fire against a Coalition Forces Base in Basra on Monday 6 November 2006.


Lieutenant Tom Tanswell of 58 (Eyre's) Battery, 12 Regiment Royal Artillery died as a result of a road traffic accident just outside Shaibah Logistics Base, near Basrah, on Friday 27 October 2006.


Lance Corporal Dennis Brady died as a result of wounds received from a mortar round fired at his base in northern Basra on the afternoon of Sunday 1 October 2006.


Gunner Lee Thornton, of 58 (Eyre's) Battery, 12 Regiment Royal Artillery, died on Thursday 7 September 2006 as a result of injuries sustained in a shooting incident in the town of Al Qurna, Iraq on Tuesday 5 September 2006.


Two British soldiers were killed on Monday 4 September 2006 near the town of Ad Dayr, north of Basrah City when their patrol was subject to an attack by a roadside bomb and small arms fire.


Corporal Matthew Cornish of 1st Battalion the Light Infantry died as a result of wounds sustained during a mortar attack on 1 August 2006.


Corporal John Johnston Cosby died on Sunday 16 July 2006 as a result of gunshot wounds following an operation by British Forces to apprehend a key terrorist leader and accomplice in a suburb of North Basra.


Two Soldiers from the Queen's Dragoon Guards were killed in an attack by an improvised explosive device in Basra on 28 May 2006.


Private Joseva Lewaicei and Private Adam Morris, of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, died as a result of injuries sustained from a roadside bomb in Basra City, Southern Iraq, on 13 May 2006.


Five personnel died when a Lynx helicopter crashed in Basra City on Saturday 6 May 2006.


Lieutenant Richard Palmer of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards died from injuries sustained in a roadside bomb attack on 15 April 2006.


Captain Richard Holmes and Private Lee Ellis of 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment were killed in Al Amarah on Tuesday 28 February 2006.


Trooper Carl Smith of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales's) died on 2 February 2006, as a result of a vehicle accident whilst on operations in Abu Al Khasib, south of Basra, Iraq.


Corporal Gordon Alexander Pritchard, from the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, died from injuries sustained as a result of an explosion on 31 January 2006, in Um Qasr, Iraq. Corporal Pritchard was commanding the lead Snatch Landrover in a three-vehicle convoy when the incident occured.


Lance Corporal Allan Douglas was shot and mortally wounded whilst on a routine patrol in Al Amarah, Iraq on 30 January 2006. Despite the best efforts of his comrades and the medical teams he later died of his wounds.


Sergeant John Jones of the 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers died on 20 November 2005 as a result of injuries sustained from a roadside bomb at approximately 1230 hrs local time in Basra, Iraq. He was on a routine patrol as the commander when the incident occurred.


Sergeant Chris Hickey of 1st Battalion the Coldstream Guards died as a result of injuries sustained from a roadside bomb at approximately 2320 hrs local time in Basra, Iraq, on Tuesday 18 October 2005.


The body of Captain Ken Masters, aged 40 was discovered in his accommodation in Waterloo Lines, Basra, Iraq on Saturday 15 October 2005.


At approximately 1100 hrs local time on 11 September 2005, an armoured SNATCH landrover was attacked in Basrah City by an improvised explosive device. Major Matthew Bacon was killed in the explosion. Three other British soldiers, also travelling in the vehicle, were seriously injured.


On the morning of 5 September 2005, 20 year old Fusilier Donal Anthony Meade, from Plumstead in South East London, and 22 year old Fusilier Stephen Robert Manning, from Erith in Kent, died as a result of wounds sustained during a patrol near Az Zubayr, Basrah province, Iraq.


Second Lieutenant Richard Shearer, Private Leon Spicer and Private Phillip Hewett of C Company, The 1st Battalion Staffordshire Regiment were killed when a patrol of three armoured Snatch Land-Rovers was engaged by an Improvised Explosive Device in the early hours of Saturday morning 16 July 2005 in Al Amarah.


Signaller Paul William Didsbury, a soldier with 21st Signal Regiment (Air Support), died at Basra on the morning of Wednesday 29 June 2005. He was serving on a roulement tour with the Joint Helicopter Force (Iraq).


Lance Corporal Alan Brackenbury of The King's Royal Hussars died in the early hours of Sunday 29 May 2005, during an incident to the South of Al Amarah, Iraq.


Guardsman Anthony John Wakefield died during the early hours of Monday 2 May 2005 as a result of wounds sustained during a routine patrol in Al Amarah, Iraq.


A British soldier was found dead in his accommodation at Basrah Air Station on Monday 28 March 2005. An investigation is underway, and his death is not thought to have been the result of hostile action.


An RAF C-130K Hercules crashed 30 kilometres north-west of Baghdad on Sunday 30 January 2005 at approximately 1635 local time. The aircraft was on a flight between Baghdad International Airport and Balad airbase. Ten UK Service personnel are missing believed killed; nine from the Royal Air Force and one from the Army. Their repatriation to RAF Lyneham commenced on the afternoon of Monday 7 February 2005, being flown out from Basrah with full honours.

The findings of the Board of Inquiry into the loss of RAF Hercules XV179 were published on 8 December 2005:

The Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt Hon Geoff Hoon MP, said on Monday 31 January 2005:

"It is with great regret that I can confirm that nine Royal Air Force personnel and one soldier are missing believed killed in yesterday's crash of an RAF C-130 Hercules in Iraq. On behalf of the Ministry of Defence and all the Armed Forces, I should like to extend my deepest sympathies to the families of these servicemen.

"The aircraft was on a flight between Baghdad International Airport and Balad airbase when it crashed. UK and US forces have secured the crash site, and are now recovering the bodies, and attempting to ascertain the cause of the crash. We are aware of reports that the aircraft may have been shot down, but we are not in a position to come to any conclusions until the investigation is complete.

"The deaths of these Servicemen are especially poignant on a day when Iraqis were able to enjoy the freedom of democratic elections for the first time in many years.

"I can only echo the sentiment of the Prime Minister in recognising the sacrifice of these Servicemen."

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, who is the Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Lyneham, paid a private visit to the station on 1 February to express her condolences to members of 47 Squadron and the Engineering Wing, and speak with personnel who are providing support to the bereaved families.


A British soldier was found dead from a gunshot wound at Shaibah Logistic Base on Sunday 26 December 2004. Hostile action is not thought to be responsible. The Royal Military Police investigation continues, but initial inquiries do not suggest suspicious circumstances.


At 1830 local on Monday 8 November 2004, a Warrior armoured vehicle from the Black Watch Battle Group was hit by a roadside bomb north of Camp Dogwood. The Warrior left the road, its wheels destroyed on one side, and one soldier was killed and two others injured - neither seriously. The injured men were taken by a US helicopter medevac team to a military hospital in Baghdad; and the damaged Warrior was subsequently recovered to Camp Dogwood.


Three British soldiers were killed, and others injured, in a suicide car-bomb attack on a vehicle check-point within the Black Watch area of operations on Thursday 4 November 2004. An Iraqi interpreter was also killed, and eight soldiers were wounded.

Lieutenant-Colonel James Cowan, commanding the 1st Battalion The Black Watch, said at Camp Dogwood on Friday 5 November 2004:

"It is my sad duty to report the death of three of my soldiers. At 1300 on 4 November, a patrol from D Company, the 1st Battalion The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) was conducting a Vehicle Check Point in an area east of the Euphrates. At this time, a suicide bomber drove his vehicle at the soldiers, detonating the device. The troops then came under sustained mortar fire. Three soldiers and one civilian interpreter were killed, and eight soldiers wounded. Sergeant Stuart Gray, Private Paul Lowe, and Private Scott McArdle were all killed instantly, as was the patrol's interpreter, whose name cannot be released for security reasons.

"For a close-knit family such as the Black Watch, this is indeed a painful blow. All three of the soldiers were our friends, but as we mourn their deaths, so we remember their lives and give thanks to their contribution to the life of our Regiment. The interpreter had been with the Black Watch since our arrival in Iraq, and had become a friend to the soldiers. He had volunteered to come north with us, and had delayed his wedding, which was to have taken place on the day of his death. Stuart Gray was a Sergeant of great experience in the Mortar Platoon; Paul Lowe was a talented drummer in the Pipes and Drums; and Scott McArdle was a rifleman in the elite Reconnaissance Platoon. We will miss them as brothers-in-arms, and extend our sympathy and love to their families. The whole of the Black Watch is saddened by this loss. But while we fell this blow most keenly, we will not be deterred from seeing our task through to a successful conclusion."

Major Lindsay MacDuff, the Officer Commanding the Battalion's Rear Party at Warminster, said on Friday 5 November 2004:

"The Black Watch has always been a close-knit family, and the news that three of our soldiers were tragically killed while serving in Iraq is keenly felt by all ranks and their families. All are left saddened by the news that we have lost three friends.

"The men of the Black Watch are determined to continue with their operational tasks in Iraq. In the words from a key passage of the Regimental Collect, "We of the Black Watch will stand fast in the faith and be strong" at this time, both here with the families, and with the men on operations.

"The Army and the Black Watch have a robust and coordinated welfare structure that is designed to meet the needs of those affected by the incident yesterday. We would ask the media to keep their distance and give us a chance to grieve and come to terms with our loss at what is a difficult time."


A British soldier was found dead at a military base in Basrah on the morning of Sunday 31 October 2004. The investigation into the death is ongoing, but it is not believed to be the result of any hostile act.


A soldier from The Black Watch died, and a further three suffered minor injuries and shock, in a road traffic accident in North Babil province on Friday 29 October 2004.


Two British soldiers died following the ambush of a military convoy south-west of Basrah on Tuesday 28 September 2004. An armoured Land Rover was badly damaged, and as troops sought to extract the casualties, they came under small arms fire.


A British soldier died in a road traffic accident near Al Amarah on Friday 10 September 2004.


A British soldier was killed in an exchange of fire with insurgents in Basrah on Tuesday 17 August 2004.


A British soldier was killed and another seriously injured by an improvised explosive device attack in Basrah on Thursday 12 August 2004.


A soldier was killed, and several others were injured, in an attack on British vehicles in Basrah on Monday 9 August 2004.


A British soldier was killed in an accident at Al Amarah on Wednesday 4 August 2004.


A British airman was killed when an RAF Puma helicopter suffered an accident at Basrah International Airport on Monday 19 July 2004.


A British soldier was killed, and two injured, in an improvised explosive device attack on British vehicles in Basrah on the morning of Monday 28 June 2004.


A British soldier was fatally injured in a vehicle accident at Shaibah Logistics Base on the morning of Thursday 12 February 2004.


A soldier died in a tragic accident in Basrah on Saturday 31 January 2004.


A British soldier was killed, and another injured, in a road traffic accident at Al Amarah on Wednesday 21 January 2004.


A British Serviceman died following a tragic incident on a training range near Basrah on the morning of Wednesday 7 January 2004.


Two British soldiers were killed in a road traffic accident in Baghdad early on Thursday 1 January 2004.


A British Serviceman was killed in a road traffic accident in Basrah on Thursday 6 November 2003.


A Royal Marines NCO was killed by hostile fire during an operation on Friday 31 October 2003.


A Territorial Army soldier died in a tragic incident on Tuesday 23 September 2003 whilst serving at Shaibah near Basrah.


A British soldier was killed and another wounded in an incident in Ali As Sharqi in southern Iraq on Wednesday 27 August 2003.


Three soldiers from the Royal Military Police were killed, and one seriously wounded, during an incident in central Basrah on the morning of Saturday 23 August 2003.

The senior RMP officer serving in Basrah, Lieutenant Colonel Bill Warren, said:

"I am deeply saddened by this tragic event. My thoughts, and those of the men and women of the Royal Military Police, are with the families and friends of those who have lost their lives. I hope that they will be given the space to grieve.

"These soldiers have been a credit to the RMP and have made a significant contribution to the rebuilding of the local police force in the region. This incident will not deter us from our mission and we will continue to work closely with our Iraqi colleagues to seek out those responsible for this criminal act and bring them to justice."

Brigadier Maurice Nugent, the Provost Marshal for the British Army and professional head of the Royal Military Police, said on Sunday 24 August 2003:

"The impact of yesterday's tragedy in Basrah, where three men of the Royal Military Police were killed, is only now beginning to be felt. The thoughts of all past and present members of the Royal Military Police are with the families. All three soldiers had young families and we will be there for them over the coming days and weeks. The RMP are one of the key players in the efforts to reform and resurrect the civil police in Iraq, and I am proud of the role played in this by Corporal Dewi Pritchard, from 116 Provost Company, West Bromwich, and Warrant Officer Colin Wall and Major Matthew Titchener, who were both from 150 Provost Company in Catterick. This essential work will continue beyond this tragedy."


A British serviceman was killed, and two wounded, during a bomb attack on a military ambulance in Basrah on Thursday 14 August 2003.


A Territorial Army soldier died on Wednesday 13 August 2003 in southern Iraq. The cause of his death is under investigation but was not the result of hostile action.


An Army officer collapsed and died on Friday 18 July 2003 in southern Iraq.


Six Royal Military Policemen were killed in an incident at Al Majar Al Kabir on Tuesday 24 June 2003. The Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon MP, updated the House of Commons on Wednesday 2 July 2003 on the information available concerning this incident, and another in the same area which resulted in Service personnel sustaining wounds.

The six Royal Military Policemen who died were:

The commanding officer of 156 Provost Company, Major Bryn Parry-Jones, said:

The loss of six soldiers from such a small, tight-knit unit as 156 Provost Company clearly comes as a dreadful shock to us all, not only the friends and families of those killed, but also all those in the Royal Military Police who knew and worked with them.

All these men were highly professional Soldiers and Policemen. Their deaths in action underlines the challenging and difficult operations that the RMP are asked to undertake both in peace and times of conflict.

From the oldest, aged 41, to the youngest, aged 20, these soldiers had between them a wealth of operational experience and distinguished service. You will understand that the circumstances surrounding this dreadful incident are still being investigated. At this time, our priority is giving all the support we can to the families and friends who are having to cope with the loss of loved ones.

We ask our men and women to risk the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country, and it is the sad truth that sometimes that sacrifice comes to pass.

All six soldiers were extremely popular and well liked within the unit and they will be sadly missed by all of us.

A Board of Inquiry was convened following the deaths of the six Royal Military Policemen at Majarr al Kabir on 24 Jun 03. To see the findings of the report click here

A civilian member of the Defence Fire Service died in hospital in the UK on Thursday 22 May 2003, having fallen ill in the Gulf.


An RAF Policeman died in Kuwait on Monday 19 May 2003, believed to be from natural causes.


An RAF Regiment Gunner died in hospital in the UK on Thursday 8 May 2003, following injuries sustained in a traffic accident in Iraq.


A soldier from 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, died in an accident in Iraq on Tuesday 6 May 2003.


A British soldier was killed in an explosion in southern Iraq on Wednesday 30 April 2003.


A soldier was killed in action in Basrah on Sunday 6 April 2003.

In a separate incident, two other soldiers were killed in action in Basrah later the same day.


A soldier was killed in an accident involving a light armoured vehicle on Tuesday 1 April 2003. An officer died in hospital in the UK on Tuesday 22 April 2003 from injuries sustained in the accident.


A soldier was killed in southern Iraq on Monday 31 March 2003 during an explosive ordnance disposal operation.


A soldier was killed in a road traffic accident in Kuwait on Sunday 30 March 2003.


A Royal Marine was killed in action during fighting in the area of Basrah on Sunday 30 March 2003.


On Sunday 30 March 2003, a Royal Marine officer died of natural causes.


A British soldier was killed in an incident involving light armoured vehicles of D Squadron, The Blues & Royals, on Friday 28 March 2003. Four others were injured. The circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated.

The soldier killed was:


On Tuesday 25 March 2003, two soldiers from the Queen's Royal Lancers were killed when their Challenger 2 tank was accidentally hit by another Challenger 2 during a period of multiple engagements with Iraqi enemy forces. The two men have been named as:


On Monday 24 March 2003, a soldier from 1st Battalion The Black Watch was killed in action near Al Zubayr.


A soldier was killed in action near Az Zubayr near Basrah on Monday 24 March 2003.


Two British soldiers were reported missing, later confirmed as killed, after an attack on British military vehicles in southern Iraq on Sunday 23 March 2003.


On Sunday 23 March 2003, an RAF GR4 Tornado aircraft from RAF Marham, which was returning from an operational mission, was engaged near the Kuwaiti border by a Patriot missile battery. Both aircrew were killed.

The Military Aircraft Accident Summary reporting the investigation of this fatal incident was published on 14 May 2004. Click here for a direct link to the MAAS report.


At around 0130 GMT on Saturday 22 March 2003, two Royal Navy Sea King Mk 7 Airborne Early Warning helicopters collided over the northern Arabian Gulf. There were no survivors from the six British and one US crew members aboard. The incident was not the result of enemy action.

The Commanding Officer of 849 Squadron asked for this letter to be published in response to all the messages of condolence received:

The early hours of 22 March 2003 marked a sad day in the proud history of 849 Naval Air Squadron. Two Sea King Mk 7 helicopters of 849 A Flight collided over the North Arabian Gulf, whilst conducting missions in support of coalition forces, with the loss of all seven crewmembers. As one can imagine, this tragic event has shocked and devastated everyone, not only the friends and loved ones of those involved but also of those associated in anyway with 849 Naval Air Squadron, the wider Fleet Air Arm community, and beyond.

Messages of condolence, support and sympathy began arriving early Saturday morning. Since then, Culdrose and 849 Squadron have been overwhelmed by the flow of tributes that continue to arrive. These have come from all quarters and include those close to fallen comrades, fellow aviators, members of the armed forces and from the general public. The strength and understanding that these messages convey cannot be underestimated; they have been, and continue to be, of enormous support not only to the friends and family of those involved, but to those still serving on A Flight and the 849 community as a whole. It will take time to respond personally to all the tributes, but be assured that all those associated with 849 Naval Air Squadron are eternally grateful and will draw great strength from them in the coming weeks and months.

Despite such horrendous losses, 849 A Flight remain in theatre and continue to execute vital missions in support of Gulf operations. The 'Eyes of the Fleet' may have dimmed briefly but they remain open, alert and ever vigilant. Finally, to our fallen comrades from 849 A Flight we say: Rest in peace in the knowledge that your professionalism, dedication and ultimate sacrifice will never go unrecognised or be forgotten.


At around midnight GMT on Friday 21 March 2003, a US Marine Corps CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crashed south of the Kuwait border with US and UK personnel aboard; there were no survivors. Eight personnel from 3 Commando Brigade died in the accident, along with four US aircrew.


Acting Chief Petty Officer Simon Roger Owen, aged 38 from Plymouth, died from natural causes aboard HMS Chatham, during a deployment to the Gulf, on Friday 17 December 2004. Although initial reports associated A/CPO Owen's death with operations in Iraq, HMS Chatham was not assigned to or engaged in Operation TELIC at that time, and his name has not been included in the total for operations in Iraq.

Operations in Iraq: British Casualties

The Ministry of Defence has published the following casualty figures for Operation TELIC. These figures are updated fortnightly.

All casualties suffered by UK Forces are a source of profound regret. UK personnel have put their lives on the line to help the Iraqis build a strong, stable Iraq and we cannot pay high enough tribute to the job they are doing, or the sacrifice some of them have made.

The Defence Medical Services aspire to provide first class treatment for all injured or ill Service personnel, aiming to restore them to full fitness or, where this is not possible, to the best state of health their conditions permit. We also work closely with the NHS to ensure a smooth transition into NHS care when responsibility for their healthcare transfers at the point of demobilisation for reservists or discharge for regulars.

For the period from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2005:

Centrally available records show that:

  • 33 UK military personnel were categorised as Very Seriously Injured from all causes excluding disease.
  • 78 UK military personnel were categorised as Seriously Injured from all causes excluding disease.

Work continues to verify and validate data for aeromedical evacuations and field hospital admissions in both Iraq and Afghanistan prior to January 2006. Once this data is compiled it will be added to the website.

For the period from 1 January 2006 to 15 June 2007:

Centrally available records show that:

  • 216 UK military and civilian personnel were admitted to UK Field Hospitals and categorised as Wounded in Action, including as a result of hostile action.
  • 1,677 UK military and civilian personnel were admitted to UK Field Hospitals for Disease or Non Battle Injuries.
  • 27 UK personnel were categorised as Very Seriously Injured from all causes excluding disease.
  • 39 UK military and civilian personnel were categorised as Seriously Injured from all causes excluding disease.
  • 991 UK military and civilian personnel were aeromedically evacuated from Iraq on medical grounds, whatever the reason.

For further details see:

Op Telic Casualty and Fatality Tables incorporating historical data

Frequently Asked Questions

What is NOTICAS reporting?
Notification of Casualty (NOTICAS) is the name for the formalised system of reporting casualties within the UK Armed Services. It sets in train the MOD's next-of-kin informing procedure. NOTICAS is taken extremely seriously – as the MOD's Joint Casualty & Compassionate Policy & Procedures set out, NOTICAS reports are to be raised for every casualty and the reporting process "must be undertaken as quickly and sensitively as possible and it takes precedence over all but the most urgent operational and security matters".

What do "Seriously Injured" and "Very Seriously Injured" mean?
The NOTICAS reports raised for casualties contain information on how seriously medical staff in theatre judge their condition to be. This information is used to inform what the next of kin are told. VSI and SI are the two most serious categories into which personnel can be classified:

  • "Very Seriously Ill/Injured/Wounded" or VSI – The illness or injury is of such severity that life or reason is imminently endangered.
  • "Seriously Ill/Injured/Wounded" or SI – The patient"s condition is of such severity that there is cause for immediate concern, but there is no imminent danger to life or reason.

The VSI and SI categories are defined by Joint Casualty & Compassionate Policy & Procedures. They are not strictly medical categories but are designed to give an indication of the severity of the illness to inform what the individual"s next of kin are told. In the figures above we have excluded those individuals categorised as VSI or SI whose condition was identified to be caused by illness, to produce figures for the number of UK personnel categorised as Very Seriously Injured and Seriously Injured whatever the cause of the injury, but excluding illnesses.

What about less serious injuries?
Minor injuries were not consistently reported to the UK during the early stages of Op TELIC due to the tempo of operations. Additional theatre reporting requirements took effect on 11 April 2005, at the same time as the activation of the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Cell at RAF Innsworth. However, there is still variability in the nature of these reports, and so we cannot produce a fully reliable and consistent set of figures.

What do the "medical evacuation" figures mean?
These figures give the total number of UK personnel who have been evacuated from Iraq by air on medical grounds, whatever the reason (known as "aeromeds"). The figure may also contain a small number of Iraqis flown out of Iraq by British Forces for medical treatment, since the nationality of the passengers is not recorded, along with some entitled civilians.

Why is this figure higher than the others?
This is not just troops wounded in action. Personnel can be medically evacuated ("medevac'd") from theatre for a variety of reasons, such as heat stroke and road accidents. The majority of aeromeds have been as a result of illness rather than injury.

What does the British "Role 3" Field Hospital at Shaibah provide?
Role 3 medical support is deployed hospitalisation and the associated support elements including Primary Surgery, Intensive Care Unit, Medium and Low dependency nursing care beds and diagnostic support, as well as a mission-tailored variety of clinical specialities for emergency medical care. It may also provide other clinical specialities.

Is this the only British medical facility in theatre?

No. It is the only Field Hospital currently deployed in Iraq, but there are smaller facilities deployed on Operation Telic which can provide more basic levels of care, although they do not contain bedding down facilities. Other medical facilities were deployed on Operation TELIC during the peak of major combat operations and its aftermath, including 33 Field Hospital and Royal Fleet Auxiliary Argus (a floating Role 3 Medical Facility). They returned to the United Kingdom in the summer of 2003. Records from these facilities are currently being cross checked against our existing records from Operation TELIC.

Why is the number of people treated at Shaibah higher than the number of people medically evacuated?
Many of the patients admitted to the Shaibah Role 3 medical facility did not need to be medically evacuated out of Iraq. They could be treated effectively in theatre.

What is the figure for personnel "wounded as a result of hostile action" based on?
This figure is based on Wounded in Action figures from the Shaibah Role 3 Medical Facility. From October 2004 we have been able to check these figures against an "In Hostile Action" return sent back to the UK from Iraq, which covers the whole of Multi-National Division (South East). This figure does not include UK forces treated at other “Role 3” facilities deployed on TELIC during the early phase of Operation TELIC and it does not include UK forces that were treated at coalition (for example United States) facilities. Work is underway to improve our TELIC casualty reporting, once this is complete we will update the website accordingly.

Press Information for UK Military Operations in Iraq

Official points of contact for journalists wishing to obtain information relating to UK military operations in Iraq

Media wishing to make enquiries about UK military operations in Iraq should contact:

  • Divisional Headquarters Press Information centre in Basra.

    Telephone: 00 8707 6364 6748
    Email: picbasrah@defencemediaops.co.uk

    UK military spokesman Major David Gell.
    UK military Arabic spokesman Captain Katie Bermingham

  • MOD Press Office Operations Desk in London.

    Telephone: +44 (0)207 218 3255 / +44 (0)207 2183257 / +44 (0)207 2189006

Media Visits to Iraq

  • Media wishing to request a visit to Iraq should refer to the MOD Green Book using the link on this page.
  • Subsequent enquiries should be addressed to Squadron Leader Roger Flynn (MOD Media Ops):

    Telephone: +44 (0)207 2186200
    Email: roger.flynn953@mod.uk

Information for Families and Friends

Information for families and friends of UK troops serving in theatres around the world.

Families Casualty Helpline

The Ministry of Defence operates a casualty helpline for concerned relatives. The number is 08457 800 900.

Please note: This line is activated for major incidents during time of high public demand. The activation of this line will be notified to concerned families and members of the public via media and Service channels.

At all other times, friends and relatives should call the normal Joint Casualty and Compassionate Cell telephone numbers, who will be happy to address any concerns. These contact details are already distributed to families.

This telephone number is not for enquiries by either the media or the general public.