UK Electorate Wants British Troop Numbers in Afghanistan to be Reduced to the NATO Average

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With the withdrawal of the 1,950 Dutch troops in Afghanistan following the collapse of the Dutch government, the Jury Team today again called on the UK government to bring the number of British troops in Afghanistan into line with the NATO average. This Jury Team policy on Afghanistan was shown in a YouGov poll to be supported by 67% of the electorate to 14% against. The UK currently has more troops in Afghanistan, compared with population, than any NATO country including America and has had 12 times more deaths than its European NATO allies.

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Limit the number of British troops sent to Afghanistan to the average number sent by other NATO countries (relative to their population)

UK Electorate Wants British Troop Numbers in Afghanistan to be Reduced to the NATO Average

With the withdrawal of the 1,950 Dutch troops in Afghanistan following the collapse of the Dutch government, the Jury Team, one of the political parties in the newly formed Alliance for Democracy, today again called on the UK government to bring the number of British troops in Afghanistan into line with the NATO average, a policy overwhelmingly supported by the electorate.

The Jury Team policy is to "Limit the number of British troops sent to Afghanistan to the average number sent by other NATO countries (relative to their population)". This would mean that instead of 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, the UK would have only about 4,000. Britain would still be fulfilling all of its NATO obligations but would also be saving at least £2 billion a year. More details of this policy are shown on http://tiny.cc/YLuM9

This Jury Team policy on Afghanistan was shown in a YouGov poll to be supported by 67% of the electorate to 14% against. There was particularly strong support from females (71%) and from those aged 55+ (75%).

Sir Paul Judge, Leader of the Jury Team, commented: “NATO is 'the cornerstone of our defence' and the UK should play its full part. That does not however mean that we should provide a disproportionate share of its resources. We all salute the courage and discipline of our troops in Afghanistan. They are doing their duty with professionalism as part of NATO's campaign. However our politicians in London enjoying their feather-bedded existence and expenses increasingly look like First World War generals in the comfort of a chateau while sending soldiers to their deaths.”

The collapse of the coalition government in the Netherlands over the Afghanistan troops issue automatically means that Dutch forces will be withdrawn from the Afghan province of Uruzgan as of 1st August 2010. The move is mandatory under a government decision taken in late 2007 in which the Netherlands signed up for another two-year stint from 1 August 2008. A NATO spokesman stated: "The Dutch decision is for the Dutch to take and we will not interfere in that."

An analysis produced by the Jury Team shows that British troops have been dragged into the Afghan war far more than any other NATO country. The UK has more troops in Afghanistan, compared with population, than any NATO country including America.

  •     the UK has 154 soldiers for every 1 million of its population
  •     France, Germany and Italy have a ratio of only 58, 54 and 52 per million respectively
  •     Spain, Portugal and Greece only have 23, 10 and 1 per million respectively
  •     The USA only has 152 per million, just less than the UK.

Compared with its size, the UK has had 12 times more deaths than its European NATO allies since 2006 when the army was redeployed to Afghanistan and John Reid, the Defence Secretary at the time, famously said that "our boys" might leave in three years “without a shot being fired”.

During 2006-9, Britain had 240 troops killed but Germany had only 19 deaths and Italy only 16. The total deaths of troops from Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Spain and Portugal, with a combined population of 273 million, more than 4 times the UK, has been only 76, less than a third of the number of UK fatal casualties. The Dutch had 21 killed in the same period, 16 in combat and 5 in accidents.

This means that per head of population, Britain has suffered 12 times more fatalities than its supposed European NATO allies. It has also suffered relatively nearly double the U.S.A.

This new analysis by the Jury Team is taken from the latest troop numbers posted last week on the website of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan which is run by NATO on behalf of the United Nations.

The Jury Team’s policies are based on what the British people want. The political class have become out of touch with the electorate. As a result of vested interests and electoral cowardice, the current party system does not deliver the policies that people want. The traditional political parties do not even properly debate the issues. Using its own review substantiated by a series of YouGov opinion polls, the Jury Team has researched the areas where the political class and the public have clearly different views. The Alliance will legislate for those policies and then have an authorising referendum before they become law.

People can sign up as candidates to become a Jury Team MP at the general election by going to the website of the Jury Team (http://www.juryteam.org) where details about the other policies of the Jury Team can also be seen.

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Paul Judge
Jury Team
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