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Monday, June 23, 2008

10,000 British soldiers unfit for frontline

More than 10,000 British soldiers are unfit for frontline duty as the pressure of supplying troops for years of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan takes its toll on the army, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

The newspaper said the Ministry of Defence admits that 8,500 soldiers from the 59,000-strong "Field Army" -- units such as tank, artillery and infantry regiments --- are classified as unfit to serve at the front.

When other soldiers classified as unfit from the overall 101,800-strong army are taken into account, the total figure is likely to exceed 10,000, said the newspaper, which is traditionally close to the armed forces.

The figure of one in 10 soldiers classified as unfit for operations is the highest since the start of the Iraq war in 2003. Britain has been Washington's staunchest ally in Iraq and about 4,000 British troops are currently based there.

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