London, Oct. 11 (ANI): British troops stationed in Afghanistan are fighting the Taliban seven times a day and therefore have almost twice the death rate compared to US forces, the British defence ministry has confirmed.
According to a new study compiled by the Ministry of Defence, British forces are suffering death rates as bad as those endured by the Soviets, who lost a war of attrition against Afghan insurgents in the 1980s.
It also shows that the death rate among UK and Canadian forces has doubled to around 16.2 per thousand personnel a year, compared to the previous three months, the Independent reports.
It is almost twice the death rate sustained by the Americans during the same period.
"The statistics are very clear - this is a definite and disturbing pattern showing fatality rates for British forces in Afghanistan are consistently higher than those of US forces," Sheila Bird, who compiled the study with a former SAS commander Clive Fairweather, said.
"It is highly unlikely that the difference in fatality rates is just down to chance. The most obvious first thing to think about is the difference in the territories and levels of resistance the forces are operating in," she added.
Former British Commander in Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp, said the fatality rates could be down to the American forces, as they have far more support personnel.
"Our combat forces are concentrated almost exclusively in the real hot zone - Helmand - whereas only a proportion of American combat forces are in that area... and that might account for some of that discrepancy," he added.
The shadow Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, said the sacrifice being made by British troops was "proportionally greater than any other nation."
"We're in the most dangerous part of the country and, of course, have had particular exposure to IEDs.
And then what is, I think, the real controversial issue is whether, had we had more helicopters and better-armoured vehicles, we could have maintained our level of military activity without taking so many casualties and fatalities," he added. (ANI)