US Commander Marine General Joseph Dunford to Senate Armed Services Committee:

“A withdrawal, in my mind, means abandoning the Afghan people, abandoning the endeavour that we’ve been here on for the last decade and then providing al-Qaeda with the space to begin again operations against the West.”

Harold MacMillan, handing over the prime ministerial reins to Alec Douglas-Home in October 1963:

“My dear boy, as long as you do not invade Afghanistan you will be absolutely fine.”

Two Afghan girls look out from a hill over the post-war Afghan capital of Kabul  January 18, 2002. T..

– Cost for Afghans is currently around 700 killed or seriously injured each month

– 2211 US lives lost since the 2001 invasion.

– 448 British lives lost, 404 through hostile action.

– Total bill for US is about $700bn.

 – Or in the UK, more the £2,000 for every British family. 

– the 350,000-strong Afghan National Army is completely equipped, trained and paid by the west at a current cost of $1.1bn a year.

An Afghan security personnel keeps watch near the Serena hotel, during an attack in Kabul

 – UN figures estimate about 80 per cent of civilian casualties are caused by Afghan insurgents.

 – This is Britain’s fourth war in Afghanistan after previous actions in 1842, 1879 and 1919.

 – All Nato combat operations have ceased in terms of ground forces and current levels are about 52,000 of whom 33,000 are US.

 – British forces in Southern Afghanistan once operated 137 bases. Now it’s two as they pack up and leave.

 – Nato wants a deal to keep around 12,000 trainers and special forces after 2014. President Karzai won’t agree   but all presidential election candidates claim they will sign up to this.

Afghan farmers work at a poppy field in Jalalabad province

 – The UN reckons the Afghan “economy” to be 10 per cent conventional, 30 per cent opium and 60 per cent foreign aid.

– World Bank says property prices have halved in Kabul in past two years and “economy” contracted 10 per cent over fears of NATO departure.

 – last month the US Congress cut civilian aid to Afghanistan by 50 per cent.