Hidden cost of Britain's Afghan war crosses 12 billion pounds

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London, July 26 (ANI): The hidden cost of Britain's military campaign in Afghanistan has crossed the 12-billion-pound mark, a comprehensive analysis has revealed.

According to The Independent, the "hidden costs" of fighting since the Taliban was ousted in 2001 reveals that the bill works out to 190 pounds for every man, woman and child in the UK - and would pay for 23 new hospitals, 60,000 new teachers or 77,000 new nurses.

The taxpayers' 12 billion dollar cost is swollen by millions poured into rebuilding Afghanistan every year by British charities and other non-governmental organisations.

The British Ministry of Defence shows no sign to end the spiralling human and financial costs of the campaign.

British military experts have warned that the effort may have to continue for years more - but questioned the commitment of politicians to see the job through in the longer term.

General Sir Hugh Beach, former deputy commander of British Land Forces, warned, "The British Army has done magnificently, but it's a long slog. You don't do it probably in two years or three - it might take five years or 10. Will we have the political will to stay there that long? I very much doubt it."

Colonel Bob Stewart, former commander of British forces in the Balkans, said the Government had been "confused" about what it wanted to achieve in the area.

"The Government needs to have a crystal-clear aim to neutralise Afghanistan so it can't do us any harm either directly or implicitly. We've got to stay the course in Afghanistan," he said.

By the middle of 2010, the Ministry of Defence will have spent more than 9 billion on "Operation Herrick", the multinational Afghan campaign sparked by al-Qaeda's 9/11 attacks.

MoD outlay on fighting the war has risen from 221 million pounds in 2001-02 to an estimated 3.49 billion pounds this year.

The 2009-10 figure will be almost one billion more than last year and nearly five times the 738 million pounds dedicated to Herrick in 2006-07.

Although the MoD's estimates cover spending on logistics such as wages, equipment and transportation, they do not disclose the "hidden" costs of war, such as support for injured troops, veterans and the families of personnel killed in action. (ANI)

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