UK military deaths in Afghanistan

The UK's military role in Afghanistan since 2001 has not been without its human toll. Members of the Army, RAF, Royal Marines and special forces have lost their lives in the fight against the Taliban. Here, the BBC News website offers a look at who they were and how they died.

How they died

  • Total deaths: 453
  • Hostile: 393
  • Accident: 39
  • Other: 21
  • All deaths:

    UK forces have been in Afghanistan since US-led forces launched Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, targeting al-Qaeda and its Taliban supporters. As the UK's role has changed, troop numbers have increased. Most casualties have been caused by improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. Others have died in clashes with insurgents, accidents or by other causes. Use the filter menu to see a more detailed breakdown.

  • Hostile deaths:

    The Taliban have used different techniques to target UK troops at their bases or while on patrol. Attacks by insurgents armed with guns and hand or rocket-propelled grenades have inflicted casualties, as well those using as indirect fire, such as mortars or rockets. There is also a constant threat of IEDs or landmines planted by the insurgents.

    Hostile Deaths
    IED/landmine 226
    Shot 116
    Indirect fire 8
    Grenade 21
    Suicide bomb 17
    All other causes 5
  • Accidental deaths:

    A number of UK troops have died in accidents while on tour in Afghanistan. There have been fatal vehicle accidents and some incidents involving weapons. The largest loss of life as a result of a single accident happened in September 2006 when a Nimrod MR2 aircraft exploded and crashed after air-to-air refuelling, killing all 14 personnel on board.

    Accident Deaths
    Air 20
    Vehicle 14
    Weapon 2
    All other causes 3
  • Other deaths:

    Some deaths in Afghanistan have occurred as a result of causes other than hostile action or accidents. There have been a small number of suicides and troops killed in so-called "friendly fire" incidents. The cause of some deaths is still under investigation.

    Other causes Deaths
    Friendly fire 7
    Suicide 2
    Under investigation 5
    All other causes 7

When they died

UK troop levels, and casualties, increased sharply in 2006 when Nato took over leadership of operations in the south - with most British forces based in Helmand where Taliban influence was strong. Operations such as Panther's Claw against Taliban strongholds also increase the risk of exposure to IEDs.

All deaths

Month 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
January N/A 0 0 1 0 0 2 1 6 6 2 3 2 0
February N/A 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 6 15 7 1 0 0
March N/A 0 0 0 0 2 4 2 3 12 6 9 1 1
April N/A 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 1 3 1 3 3 5
May N/A 0 0 0 0 0 5 3 12 8 4 5 0 0
June N/A 0 0 0 0 3 4 13 4 20 6 4 0 0
July N/A 0 0 0 0 3 6 4 22 16 3 3 0 0
August N/A 2 0 0 0 8 6 2 19 7 3 3 0 0
September 0 0 0 0 0 19 7 4 8 6 2 8 0 0
October 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 6 4 1 4 1 N/A
November 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 7 12 3 7 1 1 N/A
December 0 0 0 0 0 3 2 9 9 3 4 0 1 N/A

Service

  • Army
  • Royal Air Force
  • Royal Navy
  • Royal Marines
  • Not released
  • 370
  • 23
  • 0
  • 60
  • 0

Rank

  • Officers
  • NCOs
  • Other ranks
  • Not released
  • 47
  • 58
  • 346
  • 2

Age

  • 19 and under
  • 20-29
  • 30-39
  • 40+
  • Not released
  • 35
  • 310
  • 85
  • 22
  • 1
Sex Deaths
Male 450
Female 3
Service Deaths
Army 370
Royal Air Force 23
Royal Marines 60
Not released 0
Rank Deaths
Officers 47
NCOs 58
Other ranks 346
Not released 2
Age Deaths
19 and under 35
20-29 310
30-39 85
40+ 22
Not released 1
Sex Deaths
Male 450
Female 3

Hostile deaths

Month 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
January N/A 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 6 6 2 2 2 0
February N/A 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 6 14 4 1 0 0
March N/A 0 0 0 0 0 4 2 3 12 6 9 1 0
April N/A 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 1 3 1 3 3 0
May N/A 0 0 0 0 0 4 3 12 7 4 5 0 0
June N/A 0 0 0 0 3 4 12 4 16 6 4 0 0
July N/A 0 0 0 0 3 6 4 21 14 3 3 0 0
August N/A 0 0 0 0 5 3 2 19 6 3 3 0 0
September 0 0 0 0 0 5 5 4 8 6 2 5 0 0
October 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 6 4 1 4 1 N/A
November 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 12 2 7 1 1 N/A
December 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 9 7 2 4 0 1 N/A
Service Deaths
Army 330
Royal Air Force 8
Royal Marines 55
Not released 0
Rank Deaths
Officers 37
NCOs 45
Other ranks 309
Not released 2
Age Deaths
19 and under 31
20-29 275
30-39 71
40+ 15
Not released 1
Sex Deaths
Male 390
Female 3

Accidental deaths

Month 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
January N/A 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
February N/A 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
March N/A 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
April N/A 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5
May N/A 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
June N/A 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 0 0 0 0
July N/A 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
August N/A 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
September 0 0 0 0 0 14 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
October 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 N/A
November 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 N/A
December 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 N/A
Service Deaths
Army 22
Royal Air Force 15
Royal Marines 2
Not released 0
Rank Deaths
Officers 8
NCOs 11
Other ranks 20
Not released 0
Age Deaths
19 and under 0
20-29 23
30-39 10
40+ 6
Not released 0
Sex Deaths
Male 39
Female 0
Month 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
January N/A 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
February N/A 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0
March N/A 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
April N/A 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
May N/A 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
June N/A 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
July N/A 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
August N/A 2 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
September 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0
October 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 N/A
November 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 N/A
December 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 N/A
Service Deaths
Army 18
Royal Air Force 0
Royal Marines 3
Not released 0
Rank Deaths
Officers 2
NCOs 2
Other ranks 17
Not released 0
Age Deaths
19 and under 4
20-29 12
30-39 4
40+ 1
Not released 0
Sex Deaths
Male 21
Female 0

The overwhelming majority of casualties are soldiers from the lower ranks, killed while out on foot on patrol. Women work on the front line, but not in close-combat roles such as infantry, commando or tank units. The UK plans to end to combat operations in Afghanistan by 2014.

Key events

  • 7 October 2001

    Strikes on Afghanistan

    Coalition forces bomb Afghan targets "to combat terrorism"

    Full story
  • 22 August 2003

    Nato leads mission

    Nato assumes control of peacekeeping

    Full story
  • 22 February 2006

    UK troops in Helmand

    UK troops set up base in Lashkar Gah

    Full story
  • 9 September 2006

    RAF Nimrod crashes

    Fourteen die as plane crashes

    Full story
  • 12 December 2007

    Taleban town falls

    Afghan forces take Musa Kala stronghold

    Full story
  • 8 June 2008

    UK deaths reach 100

    The number of UK troops killed reaches milestone

    Full story
  • 2 July 2009

    Helmand assault

    UK and US troops launch Operation Panther's Claw

    Full story
  • 1 February 2010

    Helmand offensive

    Nato forces launch Operation Moshtarak

    Full story
  • 1 June 2010

    UK deaths reach 300

    UK counts cost of operation

    Full story
  • 1 November 2010

    Nato plans 2014 exit

    Nato backs strategy to transfer power to Afghan forces

    Full story
  • 1 June 2011

    Bin Laden killed

    US troops kill al-Qaeda leader in Pakistan

    Full story
  • 1 August 2011

    Town ends tributes

    Last repatriation held in Wootton Bassett

    Full story
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