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Military

One fifth of UK infantry 'unfit for front line duties'

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Jan 12, IRNA -- One in five members of the British army's infantry is unfit to fight on the front line, official figures obtained by the opposition Conservative Party have said.

The data revealed that around 5,000 soldiers and officers cannot take part in combat duties because of physical or mental injury or illness, a lack of fitness or other non-medical, reasons.

"To have 20% of the infantry unfit for the duties they are primarily employed and trained for is quite a staggering figure,” said Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin, who is a member of the parliamentary Defence Select Committee.

"This reflects the long-term effect of sustained operations,” Jenkin has told the BBC.

He also accused the government of not funding the recruitment and training of personnel to replace those who are left unfit for combat.

Official figures from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) showed that more than 1,000 servicemen and women have suffered combat injuries in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001.

The MoD insisted that it is committed to providing the best care for injured personnel and ensuring they get the support that is most suitable for them.

Some of those classed as not fully deployable could still work on the front line, provided suitable medical support was available in theatre, it also said.

"The majority of those classed as medically non-deployable are fit enough to work in some capacity and therefore continue to make a contribution to the effectiveness of the Armed Forces," an army spokesman said.

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End News / IRNA / News Code 892917



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