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News number: 8804271304

17:49 | 2009-07-18


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Afghan Analyst: Decrease in British Military Troops Political Maneuver

TEHRAN (FNA)- The plan to downsize Britain's military buildup in Afghanistan is just a political maneuvering to hush the anger of the British over the high fatality rate of the country's soldiers in the southern Helmand province, an Afghan analyst said on Saturday.

"The British cannot make any decision over the issue without consulting the Americans," Mohyeddin Mahdi told FNA.

Last week, British troops suffered their blackest 24 hours yet in Afghanistan when eight soldiers died, taking the toll to 15 this month out of 184 since operations began in 2001.

Noting that the presence of the British forces in certain parts of Helmand province is limited, Mahdi added, "We have not yet witnessed a decisive and full-scale war by these (British) troops in this province so that we can say they intend to pull out of Afghanistan due to exhaustion."

He also stressed that the British forces' exit from Afghanistan will leave a negative impact on other foreign forces in the country as the UK has the second largest military buildup in the country.

"Thus, a unilateral decision by the British to pull out of the country seems rather unlikely," the Afghan analyst underscored.

Many of Britain's 9,000 troops in Afghanistan are taking part in the operation against the Taliban fighters in the southern Helmand province ahead of presidential elections next month.

The death toll for the British troops in Afghanistan since operations began in 2001 now stands at 184, surpassing the 179 dead in the Iraq campaign.