28 Feb 2010

UK troops expected to be in Afghanistan for years

7:48 am on 28 February 2010

The head of the British Army says Britain will be "militarily engaged" in Afghanistan for a further five years.

General Sir David Richards told the Daily Telegraph that he expected the military conflict to "trail off in 2011".

But, he said, British troops will continue in training and support roles.

He also warned that coalition troops could not afford to fail and said Britain forces now "for the first time" have the resources they had wanted.

Sir David said in August that he believed Britain would be committed to Afghanistan "in some manner" for the next 30 or 40 years - possibly through roles in development, governance and security sector reform.

During a visit to Afghanistan, he said: "The Taliban is now beginning to realise that they can lose this war, which was not the view they had a year ago."

A total of 266 British service personnel have died since the conflict began.