Women do not have the "killer instinct" needed to fight on the front line and allowing them to do so would harm the Army's "warrior ethos", a former commander in Afghanistan has said.
Colonel Richard Kemp told the Daily Mail that allowing women to join infantry or tank regiments would be detrimental to the military's fighting ability as the Government continues a six-month review into the ban.
Earlier this year, then defence secretary Philip Hammond brought forward the review, saying he wanted to "send a message" that careers in the Armed Forces were fully open to women.
But Col Kemp, who commanded British forces in Afghanistan in 2006, told the paper: "Inclusion of women in the infantry is certain to result in a lowering of physical standards despite the inevitable denials that this will happen.
"This would damage the fighting capabilities of the armed forces. It would be harmful to the cohesion of the army because of the nature of the role. They have to attack the enemy and kill him face to face with bullets, bayonets, grenades and sometimes with their bare hands.
"A killer instinct and aggression is more of a male characteristic. I am not saying no women have this but in the same way many would not want to be in combat roles on the front line, many do not have this killer instinct.
The review, led by current head of the Army General Sir Peter Wall, is due to make recommendations by the end of the year.
Women are currently not allowed to join the ranks of the infantry and Armoured Corps but serve in a wide variety of combat roles across the forces, including fighter pilots, sailors and, most recently, submariners.
Announcing the decision in May, Mr Hammond said: "The image of the military is still a macho image - the last bastion of male chauvinism. The reality is very different.
"But in the Army we still don't allow women in the combat arms - in the infantry and in the Armoured Corps. I think that at a time when the Americans, the Australians, the Canadians, even the French - the Israelis of course for years - have women in their combat arms, this is something we have to look at again."