Britain withdrew its last troops from Iraq on May 19, 2011.

The cost of the war to the UK has been extremely high.   Codenamed  “Operation Telic” , the war claimed the lives of 179 British soldiers, with thousands wounded.

The official cost of the war, according to the UK military, was $16 billion  — but this does not include the long-term cost of caring for wounded soldiers, the strain on medical facilities treating these troops, the cost of replacing military equipment that was used up  and the impact on the morale and preparedness of the British armed forces.   This also does not include the cost to the British economy of fighting an expensive and unpopular war.

More than 45,000 UK troops were deployed to the country at the start of the operation.   At the height of the insurgency, from late 2004 to 2007, many of the UK forces, which by then numbered 8,000, were battling Shia gunmen daily.  Most British forces had left by July 2009, when Basra was handed over to the US.  Since then, the remaining British forces have been training the Iraqi navy.

Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox announced: “ Having successfully completed their mission, UK personnel deployed to Iraq under this agreement will now leave the country. This marks the formal conclusion of Operation Telic.”

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