Britain’s military involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost UK taxpayers almost £30 billion, a think tank says.
In a book published on Tuesday, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) said that the UK’s contribution to the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was £19.59 and £9.56 billion respectively.
The think tank described the invasions as “strategic failures” despite their high costs, which do not even include the money needed for the UK troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014.
The figures, released in the book, which is titled “Wars in Peace,” translate into £1,000 in losses for every taxpayer in Britain.
Referring to the British intervention in Afghanistan’s southern provinces, the think tank also argued, “[opium] cultivation in Helmand is higher today than it was before the British arrived.”
Britain joined the United States in an invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext of combating terrorism. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but Afghanistan remains insecure despite the presence of tens of thousands of US-led forces there.
UK forces also participated in the US-led invasion of Iraq in a blatant violation of international law in 2003 under the pretext that the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons were ever discovered in Iraq.
The UK participated in the controversial wars under former Prime Minister Tony Blair. He currently faces accusations of impeding the publication of the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war. He denies the accusation.
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