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Page last updated at 13:33 GMT, Saturday, 18 March 2006

Bringing Our Boys Home?

British troops
About 8,900 UK personnel are stationed in Iraq

Three years after witnessing UK troops entering Iraq, Panorama's Jane Corbin returns to the volatile south of the country.

She gained extensive access to British forces as the country teetered on the brink of civil war.

While in the southern city of al-Amara, Corbin was the only journalist with members of the 2nd battalion of the Parachute Regiment, minutes before two of its soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb.

She finds that three years on from the invasion, the welcome from local people has cooled, while at the same time the UK is counting the human cost of their mission.

So far, 103 British servicemen have been killed in Iraq. Around two thousand other coalition troops and tens of thousands of Iraqis have also died.

Britain wants to withdraw its troops from Iraq. But that means Iraq's own police and army must be strong enough to take over. Panorama examines how ready they are for the role.

There are still 8,000 British forces in Iraq today. But the Ministry of Defence has announced 800 troops will be returning home in May.

The programme asks British commanders if it is time now to withdraw. And what will happen when UK forces leave?

Panorama: Bringing Our Boys Home? was on BBC One on Sunday 19 March 2006.

Old practices die hard in Basra
18 Mar 06 |  Panorama
In pictures: Iraq three years on
18 Mar 06 |  In Pictures
Interview: Ibrahim Jaafari
18 Mar 06 |  Panorama
'Hotbed of anti-British violence'
01 Mar 06 |  Panorama


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