10,000 British troops in Afghanistan told they face the sack

March 2nd, 2011 - 9:59 am ICT by ANI  

Taliban London, Mar. 2 (ANI): Almost the entire contingent of Britain’s 10,000 troops in Afghanistan has been told they could be sacked within months.

The British Ministry of Defence has announced the full scale of redundancies that will take place in the Army, RAF and Royal Navy in an attempt to cut billions of pounds from the department’s budget.

Military experts and former officers said that the “crass” decision to tell troops that they may be sacked while putting their lives at risk to fight the Taliban would inevitably damage morale.

The announcement came as a soldier from the Royal Army Veterinary Corps was shot dead in Helmand province yesterday, taking the number of British dead in the conflict since 2001 to 357.

According to The Telegraph, it prompted allegations that ministers had broken promises to shield front-line troops from cuts.

Many of them have endured repeated tours of duty amid some of the fiercest fighting experienced by British forces since the Second World War.

The Armed Forces will lose 17,000 posts, a tenth of their number. Eleven thousand will be made redundant with 6,000 coming from “natural wastage” including retirement and a reduction in recruitment.

The RAF set out the first details of its personnel cuts, saying 1,020 would be made redundant in September, 24 hours after the Prime Minister suggested the military could help enforce a no-fly zone in Libya.

Those affected included 170 newly-qualified and trainee pilots, as well as weapons officers and ground crew. Two Tornado squadrons have also been disbanded and their personnel reassigned. In total, the RAF will sack 2,700 personnel over the next three years.

The Ministry of Defence said no trained pilots would be made redundant.

The Army will make 5,000 redundancies, and the Navy will sack 3,300 personnel. The job losses are part of cuts announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review last October. (ANI)

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