Many UK troops who fought in Afghanistan committing suicide
There has been a surge in suicides among former British soldiers who took part in the war in Afghanistan, according to a report by UK’s Ministry of Defence.
Up to 21 active troops and 82 war veterans took their own lives in 2020 – the highest number since 2005, the MoD report revealed.
The figures also show that for the first time since the 90s the rate of suicide among men in the armed forces is starting to rise. The rate of suicide among male soldiers serving is 15 per 100,000 personnel.
In comparison with the rest of the population, the rate is 11.2 deaths per 100,000, according to the Office of National Statistics.
Jeff Williams, of Veterans United Against Suicide, said: “The armed forces is facing the perfect storm of not providing enough support to those troops who have seen combat while not helping younger personnel with mental health issues.”
Britain lost 457 armed forces personnel in Afghanistan, or 13 percent of the international military coalition's 3,500 fatalities since 2001.
James Heappey, a junior defence minister, told Sky News on Monday that some soldiers had taken their own lives in the past week because they are so devastated by the chaotic withdrawal of U.S.-led forces from the country.
The humiliation of the lightning Taliban takeover in Afghanistan after a 20-year war by US and NATO forces that cost hundreds of thousands of lives and at least a trillion dollars has dismayed Western veterans of the war.
Similarly, in the US, many military veterans who fought in the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan have expressed disgust at American politicians who launched and supported the conflicts in those two nations, saying the US "lost the war" and the blood and money spent there was wasted.
Afghanistan has been a haunted battlefield for the world’s fiercest armies, from Alexander the Great in the third century BC to Americans in the 21st century. It has also been the graveyard of superpowers, namely the former Soviet Union and the British Empire.