"A force of around 4,000 British troops will stay behind in Iraq for an indefinite period, even after all provinces controlled by the UK are handed over to the Baghdad government in nine months' time, senior defence sources said yesterday.
The soldiers will be positioned at a base in Basra ready to act to "protect the investment" made by US and British forces in the country, it was disclosed.
The size of the British forces to be left behind, more than half of just over 7,000 deployed in Iraq at present, will raise criticism that no exit strategy is in sight.
The revelation about the long-term deployment in Iraq came as the same officials warned that Britain was in for the "long haul" in Afghanistan."
How do you spell colonialism?