Investment in Blood: The True Cost of Britain’s Afghan War

By Frank Ledwidge

during this follow-up to his much-praised publication Losing Small Wars: British army Failure in Iraq and Afghanistan, Frank Ledwidge argues that Britain has paid a heavy rate – either financially and in human phrases – for its involvement within the Afghanistan warfare. Ledwidge calculates the excessive expense paid via British infantrymen and their households, taxpayers within the uk, and, most significantly, Afghan electorate, highlighting the hundreds of thousands of deaths and accidents, the large amount of cash spent bolstering a corrupt Afghan govt, and the long term harm performed to the British military’s overseas reputation.
 
during this hard-hitting exposé, in response to interviews, rigorous on-the-ground study, and respectable details acquired in the course of the Freedom of knowledge Act, Ledwidge demonstrates the folly of Britain’s prolonged participation in an unwinnable warfare. Arguing that the single precise beneficiaries of the clash are improvement specialists, foreign hands purchasers, and Afghan drug kingpins, he presents a robust, eye-opening, and infrequently heartbreaking account of army adventurism long past horribly wrong.

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It really is infrequent for a specialist in Helmand to transparent greater than £100,000 a 12 months earlier than tax. residing stipulations may be Spartan, yet such a lot experts dwell with ease on army bases, and regularly way more with ease than infantrymen. Many experts by no means enterprise outdoor the relative safeguard of the PRT, and nobody leaves it with out armoured cars and a safety crew, supplied no longer by means of the warriors at the base yet by way of a ‘private protection company’, composed mostly of ex-­soldiers, every one of whom is paid a regular expense occasionally no longer a lot below the experts. the prices of this workforce will absorb a substantial component to the complete finances for the venture. charges for experts (also recognized within the relief international as ‘technical assistance’) are a ways greater in Afghanistan than in different constructing nations end result of the appalling defense state of affairs. the price of 4089. indd one hundred fifty five 17/04/13 12:58 PM 156 funding IN BLOOD protection, shipping and placing the specialists up of their ‘pods’ (see above) constitutes what's often called ‘life-­support’. This increases the particular annual rate to the taxpayer of every advisor in Afghanistan to approximately £500,000. it truly is worthy declaring nice many folks, a number of hundred, can be hired in Helmand for the cost of a unmarried advisor plus safety group and ‘life-­support’. There, the identical of $100 a month is an efficient, dwelling salary. a expert has no ‘capitation charges’ – that's, no pension or fringe merits. she or he gets the elemental ‘life-­support’ and an insurance coverage in case of damage – and that's approximately all. The District supply Programme finances has put aside an additional £218,000 for ‘monitoring and evaluation’. this can be more likely to fund a freelance to 1 of the burgeoning inner most businesses that experience grown up round the Afghan foreign improvement international. the corporate chosen to behavior this ‘monitoring and overview workout’ should be paid a fee expense to rent one other advisor to study such issues as ‘value for money’. The activity of the advisor is undertaken faraway from domestic, and extremely mostly this has unfavourable outcomes for family members existence. And within the occasion of damage or demise, specialists are on the mercy of non-public policies. In these conditions, a few may well agree that the task of advisor isn't constantly unavoidably overpaid. Then there's the component to own defense: for a few (though under no circumstances all) the task contains critical dangers. what sort of everyone is those experts? the 1st key factor to notice is they are in fact ‘experts’. not anyone who has labored within the foreign group, or in any type of reduction paintings in another country, may be strange with the cult of the ‘expert’. In English legislations, the time period ‘expert’ used typically to be utilized to the individual in a court docket who knew greater than an individual else concerning the topic in query. these days a professional is usually somebody who's generally revered for his wisdom of a subject. Unhappily, this isn't consistently the case on the earth of overseas 4089. indd 156 17/04/13 12:58 PM constructing Afghanistan 157 improvement tips.

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