According to a report in the UK’s Mirror on Monday, is likely to be even higher because the bill disclosed by Defence Minister James Heappey only counts cash from a special Whitehall fund for the conflict.
Revealing the cost in a written parliamentary answer, Heappey said: “As at May 2021, the total cost of Operation Herrick to HM Treasury Special Reserve is £22.2billion,” the Mirror reported.
The Mirror also reported that while the financial cost is huge, the impact on some UK servicemen and women has been devastating.
“There were 457 fatalities on, or subsequently due to, Op Herrick. Of which 403 were due to hostile action. Op Herrick ran between January 1, 2006 and November 30, 2014, during which there were 10,382 UK Service personnel casualties. Of these 5,705 were injuries, and the remainder being illness or disease,” said Heappey.
“Between January 1, 2006 and March 31, 2021, there were 645 UK Service personnel who were categorised as very seriously injured, seriously injured or who sustained a traumatic or surgical amputation due to Op Herrick.
“This includes any amputations in recent years that were elective or necessary during treatment as a result of previous injuries sustained,” the Mirror quoted Heappey as saying.
British combat troops left Afghanistan in 2014 and the UK’s remaining 750 troops – Black Watch soldiers who are involved in training local forces after – started to pull out of the country last month.
Most are expected to have returned home by the end of next month.
Heappey meanwhile said: “The majority of UK military equipment will be returned to the UK.
“Some equipment may be demilitarised and disposed of in theatre should it be deemed uneconomical to recover to the UK.”
The Mirror meanwhile reported that on Sunday it emerged dozens of RAF transport planes will be sent to fly 3,000 Afghan interpreters and their families from Kabul to the UK amid fears for their safety after allied troops leave.