July 17, 2009

Iraq-Afghanistan fatalities

Just a quick look again at the combined Iraq-Afghanistan fatalities (figures from icasualties.org):

Total fatal casualties, both theatres (change in the 33 months since I did this the last time):

1. United States: 5066 (+1922)
2. United Kingdom: 364 (+204)
3. Canada: 125 (+83)
4. Italy: 48 (+6)
5. Spain: 36 (+6)
6. Germany: 33 (+15)
7. Poland: 32 (+15)
8. Denmark: 31 (+22)
9. France: 28 (+19)
10. Netherlands: 21 (+16)

Interesting how in 33 months all we've seen is Ukraine drop off the list and Netherlands come up.

Fatalities per 1,000 active-duty military personnel:

1. US: 3.44
2. UK: 1.94
3. Canada: 1.90
4. Denmark: 1.35
5. Latvia: 1.09

Fatalities per million population:

1. US: 16.5
2. UK: 5.91
3. Denmark: 5.64
4. Estonia: 4.48
5. Canada: 3.71

Again, not much change from 3 years ago, with Bulgaria and El Salvador (both of which are not deployed in numbers in Afghanistan) dropping off the list and being replaced in the rankings by the 2 Baltic republics (with 6 fatalities each, but in much smaller militaries (about 5,500 regulars each) and populations).

I think Denmark's contribution to Afghanistan (24 fatalities) and Iraq (7), where they have taken casualties at a greater rate per population, on a population one-sixth the size of Canada's, have generally been under-recognized.

Here's some more stuff, on NATO under- and over-contributions by country:

Positive value is number of soldiers currently being contributed to ISAF above the NATO mean contribution (currently 11.85 soldiers in Afghanistan per 1000 full-time troops). Negative is soldiers below that mean national contribution:


UK: +6072
Canada: +2049
Netherlands: +1141
Germany: +441
Denmark: +429
Norway: +158
Latvia: +100
Estonia: +84
Poland: +68
Croatia: +53
Lithuania: +40
Macedonia: +18
Belgium: +17


Turkey: -5373
Greece: -1952
Spain: -1329
Portugal: -432
Italy: -376
France: -289
Czech Rep: -247
Romania: -234
Bulgaria: -134
Albania: -97
Slovakia: -80
Hungary: -76
Slovenia: -37
Luxemburg: -2

Lastly, a measure relating to combat intensity for the non-US ISAF countries in the different regions of Afghanistan, judged by total fatalities due to hostile action, factoring in the size of the current contingent (only countries with more than 400 personnel on average over the last 2 years are listed).

1. Canada (South): 38.5 combat fatalities per 1000 troops currently deployed
2. Denmark (South): 32.2
3. UK (South): 20.9
4. Romania (South): 15.9
5. France (East): 11.3
6. Australia (South): 10.9
7. Norway (North): 8.7
8. Spain (West): 8.5
9. Netherlands (South): 8.1
10. Poland (East): 6.8
11. Germany (North): 5.9
12. Italy (West): 3.3
13. Turkey (East): 0.0

Note a high number on this index could indicate consistent hard fighting. It could also indicate a measure of bad luck. What it does manage to confirm, though, is that the risk is being unevenly spread.

To nutshell it, NATO's ISAF contribution is significantly hurt at present by both countries that are underrepresented in terms of numbers, and underrepresented in terms of casualties they're willing to risk. Spain and France are examples of the first condition, Germany and Poland the second, and countries like Turkey, Greece, Portugal and Italy are managing to fail the alliance both ways.

It's a great pity, when one thinks how much of a positive effect those missing 5,000-odd Turkish trrops would have had, particularly in an area like army mentoring.

Posted by BruceR at 02:24 PM

Reasons for positive thinking

I and others may cavil about long-term sustainability of our plans, or note disappointment over wastes of time or money, or wonder aloud whether our priorities as Afghanistan's allies need to be re-ordered a little. But there can be no question that Afghanistan is still on the whole a nicer, safer place than it was in 2001, or 1991 for that matter. Kabul is booming. And Peter Bergen is right that the majority of Afghans' war for a better future for themselves is far from lost, for reasons he aptly outlines here. The cause that we committed to, and in which Canadians continue to die, is still a just one. If I didn't continue to believe that, I frankly wouldn't care about the problems that have been identified as much as I do.

Posted by BruceR at 10:28 AM