Sunday, February 10, 2008

Nine million bullets for southern Afghanistan

CanWest reporter David Pugliese managed to get the Department of Defence to release the figures showing the total ammunition used by Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan:

Canadians fired almost five million bullets in Afghanistan in two years

OTTAWA -- Canadian troops fired more than 4.7 million bullets at insurgents over the last 20 months in Afghanistan, according to new statistics released by the military. ...

According to an e-mail from the Defence Department, for the period between April 2006 and December 2007, troops fired more than 2.9 million rounds of 5.56-mm ammunition, the standard bullet used in Canadian rifles.

Troops fired more than 1.6 million rounds of 7.62-mm machine-gun bullets and more than 115,000 rounds of .50-calibre machine-gun ammunition during the same time frame.

Canadian tanks fired 1,650 shells and the army's artillery guns used up more than 12,000 rounds during fighting. ... (link)
To this we can add the total reported by the British military recently: some 4 million bullets shot between August '06 and September '07. The Brits are operating in Helmand province while Canada works next door in Kandahar province.

Meanwhile, a report from the Washington Times outlines the intensity of the bombing that the US Air Force has unleashed on Afghanistan.
... In July 2006, the U.S. and NATO began a heavy offensive against the Taliban.

"You see a jump from some 20,000 pounds of bombs dropped per month to some 80,000 to 100,000 pounds dropped," he said.

In Iraq, the number of air strikes was low in 2006, totaling about 62,000 pounds for the year. In early 2007, there was an uptick to 10,000 to 15,000 a month; as U.S. forces built up strength, the numbers jumped to 71,000 pounds a month in the last half of the year. ...
Incidentally, the Washington Times article also has this summary of civilian casualties:
... In 2006, a total of 929 Afghan civilians were killed, of whom 116 died from air strikes and 114 were killed by ground fire. The other 699 were killed by the Taliban, said Marc Garlasco, a former Pentagon official now working as a senior military analyst for Human Rights Watch.

Through September 2007, a total of 892 Afghans were killed — 438 by the Taliban, 272 by air strikes, 62 by ground fire, 16 by a combination of air and ground fire. In addition, 15 died in shooting incidents where it was not clear which side did the shooting, and 89 were killed by unknown assailants. ... (link)

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