London: Britain had no effective plan for what to do after coalition forces overthrew leader Saddam Hussein following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a newspaper reported on Sunday, citing a leaked Army analysis.
"The coalition plan effectively contained no detail once Baghdad and Basra had been taken and the regime removed," said a confidential Army analysis of the first two years of the war in Iraq, published by The Sunday Telegraph.
The analysis warned this caused a "notable loss of momentum" and allowed insurgents to regroup, adding: "The inability to restore security early during the occupation was a critical failure."
It said: "There was an absence of political direction for what, overall, the UK wished to achieve."
The documents were revealed two days before an independent inquiry into Britain's role in Iraq begins public hearings on Tuesday, with the aim of learning the lessons from the conflict. British troops ended their mission in Iraq in July.
The probe will reopen debate over what remains a highly controversial campaign, in which 179 British troops lost their lives.
The leaked documents contained interviews in which Army chiefs said their troops were exposed to "significant risk" due to a "rushed" operation "lacking in coherence and resources".
Plans for the invasion of Iraq did not include "detail once Baghdad had fallen", they said.
Operations were hampered by equipment shortages, including body armour, desert boots and chemical weapons protection, it was reported.
Transcripts of classified interviews with commanders on the ground in Iraq reveal frustration in the aftermath of the invasion at the lack of planning and resources available for reconstruction.
"Sufficient resources were never available to us to make the whole thing work properly, and that affected our credibility enormously," said Lieutenant Colonel Jim Castle, commanding officer of the King's Own Scottish Borderers regiment.
First Published: Monday, November 23, 2009, 11:03