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British army running out of troops: army chief
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08:51, July 22, 2007

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The head of the British army has warned that Britain had almost no reserve troops to defend the country or fight abroad, the Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday.

Gen. Richard Dannatt, the chief of the General Staff, told British senior commanders that reinforcements for emergencies or operations in Iraq or Afghanistan are "now almost non-existent," the newspaper reported.


"We now have almost no capability to react to the unexpected," Dannatt said in a memorandum to fellow defense leaders. The "undermanned" army has almost all its units committed to training for war in Iraq and Afghanistan, on operations or on leave.

His comments came as the first serious test of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's defense policy. Brown has been criticized over the decision to give Defense Secretary Des Browne the additional part-time role of Scottish secretary.

Military leaders have privately said that a defense review is essential to examine whether more money, equipment and troops are needed, the report said.

With Britain running out of its military reserves, further pressure will mount on U.S. President George W. Bush to review U.S. troop levels in Iraq after fellow Republicans suggested significant withdrawals. It also comes at a time when more forces are needed to combat the Taliban in Afghanistan.

There are now about 6,000 British troops in Iraq and 7,000 troops in Afghanistan.

Source: Xinhua



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