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Defence cuts could hit Afghan role

Britain's ability to successfully transfer security in Afghanistan to local forces could be undermined by cuts to the Ministry of Defence Police (MDP), it is feared.

Up to a third of the 3,500-strong MDP force could be slashed under the Strategic Defence and Security Review, the service's representative body the Defence Police Federation (DPF) said.

This will have a knock-on effect to the capabilities of its small contingent of officers based in Afghanistan who are training the Afghan National Police (ANP), DPF national chairman Eamon Keating said.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said no decisions on police cuts had been made and it would not take any action which would jeopardise policing support in Afghanistan.

Military commanders have stressed the need for continued progress in training the Afghan national security forces as Isaf troops prepare to hand security to their local counterparts.

Earlier this week Afghan president Hamid Karzai announced that Afghan forces are to take control of security in Lashkar Gah in July in a major step towards the withdrawal of British troops from the country.

Prime Minister David Cameron has repeatedly emphasised his commitment to having all British troops out of combat roles in the country by 2015.

An MoD spokeswoman said: "A range of options for the MoD's future requirement for civil policing services is currently under consideration and no final decisions have yet been taken.

"We place a high value on the niche and specialist areas of policing at which the MoD Police Force excels and we will not take any action that would jeopardise the security of our people and assets or the policing support to current operations in Afghanistan."

Mr Keating said he understood the MoD was considering cutting 1,000 - 1,400 MDP members.


From Belfast Telegraph