Investment in Blood, the latest book by Frank Ledwidge, analyses the cost – both financial and human – of Britain’s involvement in the Afghanistan war. With the aid of interviews, on-the-ground research and countless Freedom of Information requests, he pieces together the enormous burden the Afghan intervention has placed on the shoulders of British soldiers and their families, UK taxpayers and – by far the greatest sufferers – Afghan civilians.
The figures which Ledwidge presents are staggering. Investment in Blood suggests that by 2020 the cost of the Afghanistan war will have risen to UK £40 billion, the equivalent of £2,000 per British household. This figure can also be equated to £40,000 for every resident of Helmand province.
Speaking to the Guardian, Ledwidge said that: ‘Once the last British helicopter leaves a deserted and wrecked Camp Bastion, Helmand – to which Britain claimed it would bring ‘good governance’ – will be a fractious narco-state occasionally fought over by opium barons and their cronies’.
He added: ‘There are no new lessons here, only one rather important old precept: before you engage in a war, understand the environment you are going into, precisely and realistically what it is you are trying to achieve and will it be worth the cost? In other words have a strategy’.
In the video interview below, Frank discusses the terrible cost of the Afghan conflict with Shiulie Ghosh of Al Jazeera English.