UK troops responsible for less than 3% of Afghan population
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
London, Dec 10, IRNA -- Despite having by far the second largest number of Nato troops in Afghanistan, Britain’s area of responsibility in Helmand province is equivalent to less than three per cent of the country’s estimated 28.5 million population.
In a written parliamentary reply published Thursday, Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis revealed that the overwhelming bulk of Britain’s deployment of more than 9,000 troops covered just over half of Helmand’s population.
“We estimate the population of Britain’s area of responsibility in Helmand province to be 750,000 to 800,000,” Lewis said without specifying the districts.
According to 2003 Central Statistical Office/UN Population Fund Socio-Economic and Demographic Profile, the estimated population in Helmand totals 1,441,769.
The limited details of the area of responsibility comes as opposition Conservative leader David Cameron questioned whether British troops were still “spread too thinly on the ground” in Helmand following his visit to Afghanistan.
“Soon, 20,000 US forces will be responsible for some 30 per cent. of the population, and less than 10,000 British troops will be responsible for some 70 per cent,” Cameron warned Gordon Brown during Prime Minister’s Questions in parliament on Wednesday.
Casualty figures also show that British troops have been suffering proportionately higher deaths than their American counterparts in Afghanistan.
This year, the US has suffered 301 losses, three times the UK number, but has 58,000 troops in the country, more than six times the number deployed by the UK.
End News / IRNA / News Code 834966
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