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Mali mission could become ‘Britain’s Vietnam’
Tim Ross, and James Kirkup
January 29, 2013
The Defence Secretary said he knew the risks that the UK could become involved in a lengthy conflict but insisted the government had placed strict limits on deploying forces to help the Malian government repel fighters linked to al Qaeda.
There are no plans for British troops to take on a “combat” role on the front-line but up to 40 will be deployed inside Mali itself as part of a European Union force to train Malian troops. A further 200 British personnel are poised to train troops from other African countries for the mission.
Some 70 personnel are already in the region operating a Sentinel spyplane, while 20 RAF crew are staffing a transport plane carrying equipment from France to Mali, the government said.
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