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Afghan soldiers could be discharged

Soldiers could be identified for discharge from the Army while serving on the frontline in Afghanistan.

Some serving soldiers are likely to have to leave under the Manning Control Points (MCP) programme, the Ministry of Defence said.

Those chosen to go could be identified while serving on the frontline - but it is understood that the process of discharging them would not start until they had returned.

An MoD spokeswoman said MCP was aimed at ensuring the right balance of skills in certain trades and experience.

She said the scheme could not be used to reduce the overall size of the Army.

She said: "The Army is close to being fully manned for the first time in some years.

"To ensure that there is the right balance of soldiers for current operations, a small number could be required to leave the Army under the manning control points.

"Those who are selected to leave will receive support to help them with the transition back to civilian life."

An initial assessment has been made that 300 to 500 soldiers will leave in the financial year 2011/12 as a result of MCP, according to the MoD website.

More than 9,000 soldiers leave the trained strength of the Army every year and the proposed MCP numbers would account for only around 5% of this figure, it said.

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