To get a sense of the fighting tempo….

….in southern Afghanistan, I found this response to a question in the UK House of Commons regarding how many “troops in contact events” (firefights) were tracked in Helmand Province from June 2006 to February 2009.


A PDF version of the response and chart is also available for download here via

Keep in mind these caveats about the numbers, from the response:

ISAF forces operating in Helmand come from a number of different nations, which often operate closely alongside each other and alongside Afghan Army and Police units. Without undertaking a detailed assessment of each engagement, it is not possible precisely to define in every case whether an attack was aimed at UK forces, at our ISAF partners, or against Afghan units. Data is therefore collected on the number of incidents involving ISAF forces in Helmand without attempting to identify the nationality of the forces actually being attacked. The environment in which forces are operating makes it extremely difficult precisely to distinguish between incidents initiated by insurgent forces and those initiated by ISAF.  This data is based on information derived from a number of sources and can only be an estimate, not least because of the difficulties in ensuring a consistent interpretation of the basis for collating statistics in a complex fast-moving multinational operational environment.

All that said, as a relative non-expert, I can read the numbers to this extent:

1)  At peak, we’re talking between 6 and 7 firefights a day anywhere in Helmand Province.

2)  Most months so far see more contacts than the same month a year earlier.

Business is picking up.


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