Troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2015: UK

Hundreds of British soldiers will stay in Afghanistan to support and train local forces after the UK ends combat deployment in 2015.

Updated: Nov 14, 2011, 15:55 PM IST

London: Hundreds of British soldiers will stay in Afghanistan to support and train local forces after the UK ends combat deployment in 2015, the chief of the defence staff has said.

General Sir David Richards said it was still undecided how many troops would remain in the war-torn country.

“We haven`t yet decided what the residual figure will be, but I think we are looking in the hundreds rather than the thousands,” the BBC quoted General Richards, as saying.

He further said the troops’ role is to prevent Afghanistan being used as a terrorist base.

“Britain`s role was not to extinguish the insurgency, but to reduce it to a level that Afghan security forces can take on, and to prevent the country being used as a base to train terrorists,” General Richards said.

“We`re on track to deliver that strategy,” he added.

General Richards said that despite cuts to the military he was confident the Army could meet the ‘core military task’ required by the government.

“The most important strategic risk facing the country is clearly our economic situation,” he added.

General Richards also played down the reports claiming that injured soldiers could lose their jobs.

According to some earlier reports, 2,500 wounded personnel could go as part of 16,500 Army job losses.

Referring to the story, General Richards said that ‘there`s no such policy.’

“No-one will be forced out of the Army - they won`t leave until it`s right for them,” he added.

ANI