BRITISH Army Chief Gen Sir Richard Dannatt has said the body count in Afghanistan had made him question if the war was being conducted properly, reports The Daily Telegraph. His comments came as official figures showed that the Ministry of Defence budget for buying new helicopters has fallen by almost half since British forces first went to war in Afghanistan in 2001. Gen Sir Richard, the Chief of the General Staff, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "A high number of deaths inevitably makes you question what we are doing, how we are doing it. The conclusion one has to reach is, going right back to basics on this, that this mission is really important." British troops are engaged in their bloodiest battles since the Falklands war, with eight servicemen dying in the space of 24 hours last week in a US-led push against the Taliban. Gen Richard concluded that, despite his doubts, Britain had to continue its war in the country. He added: "Things are much clearer if you flip the coin and look at the other side and ask 'What if we were to pull out unilaterally? What if we were to just come out of this mission?' "Frankly, the consequences of that are appalling so we will succeed, we must succeed. "We have got to think through the ways we operate, the resources we have got, the numbers we have got and all that kind of stuff - we can talk about that another time - but to make sure we are giving ourselves the absolute best chance of succeeding and part of that is the ability to minimise on casualties." Britain's Afghan death toll now stands at 184, more than the total suffered in Iraq. Military commanders and opposition parties say the Afghan death toll would be lower if more troops were able to move in helicopters instead of by road. At any given time, the 5,000 British troops have no more than 10 Chinook transport helicopters in Afghanistan and five, smaller Lynxes. The 4,000 US Marines who recently deployed to Helmand has access to 120 Chinooks. Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, said that increasing the number of military helicopters in Afghanistan would not prevent all deaths among British soldiers there. According to The Times, the revelation that Prime Minister Gordon Brown went for the cheapest option when asked by Army chiefs for reinforcements in Afghanistan prompted accusations Tuesday that the government was more interested in saving money than lives. The Prime Minister rejected a recommendation by military chiefs to send 2,000 more troops to Helmand Province despite being warned that not to do so could jeopardise the mission against the Taliban. Instead he chose to send only 700 extra troops, taking the total from 8,300 to 9,000, and only on a temporary basis before the presidential elections in August. It was the cheapest of four options put to No 10 and the Treasury by military chiefs. As the bodies of eight soldiers killed in the British Army's bloodiest 24 hours in Afghanistan were flown home, The Times report provoked anger on internet forums. "When is our disgraceful government going to get their act together and give our soldiers and the armed forces the vital equipment and manpower they need?" wrote one poster on Arrse, the online Army Rumour Service. "It seems from my point of view that our Government is more interested in saving money than the lives of our soldiers and armed forces, which is totally disgraceful." Speaking to the BBC after attending the "ramp" ceremony in Afghanistan before the repatriation of the bodies of the eight soldiers, General Dannatt conceded that the spate of deaths raised questions about the operation.