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Page last updated at 08:24 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Infantry battalions "have been raided for manpower"

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One in five army infantry personnel are unfit for full deployment, according to figures obtained in a freedom of information request.

Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, told the Today programme that if you factored in backroom staff, the percentage of frontline soldiers unable to fight was "closer to 30%" and warned that infantry battalions "have been raided for manpower".

But Professor Michael Clarke, director of the Royal United Services Institute, said that the rates of those unfit to serve "was to be expected" in an infantry intensive conflict such as that taking place in Afghanistan.

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