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UK army chief says al-Qaeda cannot be beaten

November 14, 2010 - London

General Sir David Richards, the new head of Britain's armed forces, has warned that the West cannot defeat al-Qaeda and militant Islam. n an interview to The Sunday Telegraph, he said defeating Islamist militancy was "unnecessary and would never be achieved".

However, he argued that it could be "contained" to allow Britons to lead secure lives.

General Richards, 58, said the threat posed by "al-Qaeda and its affiliates" meant Britain's national security would be at risk for at least 30 years.

The general, who will tomorrow lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in Whitehall in memory of Britain's war dead, said the West's war against what he described as a "pernicious ideology" had parallels with the fight against Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

The general disclosed that Prince William was unlikely to serve in Afghanistan, but suggested that his brother Harry, training to be an Apache helicopter pilot, could return to front-line duty in Helmand province.

He said the the sacrifice being made by the Armed Forces in Afghanistan, where 343 soldiers have been killed since 2001, "has been worth it".


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