No more UK forces to be sent to 'Triangle of Death' when troops go home next month

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British troops will be withdrawn from the "Triangle of Death" when the Black Watch, now guarding routes into Fallujah, are pulled out of the US-controlled area.

British troops will be withdrawn from the "Triangle of Death" when the Black Watch, now guarding routes into Fallujah, are pulled out of the US-controlled area.

The Prime Minister, who promised that the Black Watch would be home by Christmas, has assured senior colleagues that no more British troops will be sent to the area when the Fallujah assault is over.

British forces commanders are also reviewing their tactics after suffering four deaths and more than 10 injuries in a week while cutting supply lines to insurgents in Fallujah.

The Prime Minister received a report from commanders on the ground yesterday. However, senior officials at Downing Street denied they would be adopting more aggressive tactics, like those used by US forces, after the ferocious and deadly attacks on their patrols. Lessons learnt are likely to include abandoning vehicles that break down after criticism that the attempt to recover a Warrior armoured vehicle after 18 hours led to the ambush and suicide bombing last week in which three soldiers and an interpreter were killed and eight soldiers were injured.

The Black Watch are to be sent home by Christmas, fulfilling a promise made by Mr Blair, but will not be replaced in the hostile area south of Baghdad. The 2nd Battalion of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment is on standby to replace the Black Watch. But the 600-strong force will be restricted to the Black Watch's earlier reserve role and based in the British-controlled Basra area.

Labour MPs called for the Black Watch to be withdrawn more quickly after they suffered their fourth fatality in a roadside bombing on Monday. Alan Simpson, the leader of Labour Against the War, said they were "sitting targets" in Camp Dogwood.

Mr Blair was heavily criticised last week for refusing to guarantee to Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat leader, that no more British troops would be sent to Camp Dogwood. It has emerged that his caution was due to the timing of the final assault on Fallujah.

The Independent has also learnt that the Ministry of Defence has ordered troops to refrain from interviews after some soldiers told the media they were "angry and nervous" about their forthcoming deployment in the Fallujah area. One private accused Mr Blair of being "a liar". Ministers were appalled at the spectacle of soldiers being interviewed on television on 28 October, criticising orders to go to the highly dangerous area, even though the US had 130,000 troops deployed in Iraq.

Ministers who feared it would have a damaging effect on troop morale, and stir up anger at home among anti-war MPs and the families of the troops, acted within 24 hours. Adam Ingram, the Armed Forces minister, revealed yesterday that on 29 October, he reissued orders to troops reinforcing the message that they should not speak to the media without prior authorisation.

Mr Ingram said in a Commons written answer: "This principle is not new and reflects previous versions of the Defence Council Instructions and relevant sections of the Queen's Regulations." He added: "The rules are designed to ensure that standards of political impartiality and public accountability are maintained."

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