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Fifteen British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in the first half of this month, taking the total number of British fatalities there since 2001 to 184 and surpassing the number of British troops killed in Iraq.

The deaths have increased concerns over the UK's strategy in Afghanistan, particularly whether there are sufficient troop numbers and whether forces are properly equipped.

Public criticism is also mounting. In a recently conducted poll, 62 per cent said they still believe British forces are either making no difference in Afghanistan or making it worse and 47 per cent said they oppose the "British military operation" outright.

On Monday, hastily organised demonstrations called for an end to British participation in the war.

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However, Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, insisted he had been "reassured by commanders on the ground that we have the manpower we need for the current operation" and that there were no equipment shortages.

Britain currently has around 9,000 troops in Afghanistan in the run-up to the August elections, up from 8,300 prior to the build-up, and Brown said force levels were "under constant review".

On the next Riz Khan show we look at the strategy for the war in Afghanistan and the toll it is taking on British troops. 

This episode of the Riz Khan show aired on Tuesday, July 14, 2009.

Source: Al Jazeera