Britain has now lost 200 service people in Afghanistan. That is 200 tragedies too many.
Soviet personnel strengths and casualties
Between December 25, 1979 and February 15, 1989, a total of 620,000 soldiers served with the forces in Afghanistan (though there were only 80,000-104,000 serving at one time): 525,000 in the Army, 90,000 with border troops and other KGB sub-units, 5,000 in independent formations of MVD Internal Troops, and police forces. A further 21,000 personnel were with the Soviet troop contingent over the same period doing various white collar and blue collar jobs.
The total irrecoverable personnel losses of the Soviet Armed Forces, frontier, and internal security troops came to 14,453. Soviet Army formations, units, and HQ elements lost 13,833, KGB sub-units lost 572, MVD formations lost 28, and other ministries and departments lost 20 men. During this period 417 servicemen were missing in action or taken prisoner; 119 of these were later freed, of whom 97 returned to the USSR and 22 went to other countries.
There were 469,685 sick and wounded, of whom 53,753 or 11.44 percent, were wounded, injured, or sustained concussion and 415,932 (88.56 percent) fell sick. A high proportion of casualties were those who fell ill. This was because of local climatic and sanitary conditions, which were such that acute infections spread rapidly among the troops. There were 115,308 cases of infectious hepatitis, 31,080 of typhoid fever, and 140,665 of other diseases. Of the 11,654 who were discharged from the army after being wounded, maimed, or contracting serious diseases, 92 percent, or 10,751 men, were left disabled.
After the war ended, the Soviet Union published figures of dead Soviet soldiers: the total was 13,836 men, on average, and 1,537 men a year. According to updated figures, the Soviet army lost 14,427, the KGB lost 576, with 28 people dead and missing.