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UK soldiers aiming at Taliban with 'peashooters'?

October 28, 2009 11:48 IST

The bullets used by British forces to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan have been dubbed too small, because soldiers claim that it requires at least five direct hits to bring down the militants who are high on opium.

According to a report, British soldiers in Afghanistan use small 5.56mm calibre rounds also tail off after 300 metres and can easily be blown off the target. Half of all firefights in Helmand are fought between 300 and 900 metres.

Meanwhile, Taliban marksmen use powerful 7.62mm ammunition for their AK47 machine guns, The Sun reports.

The report calls for guns that take larger ammunition to replace all standard-issue SA80 rifles -- which many believe were exposed as inadequate in Iraq in 2003.

Report co-author Nicholas Drummond, a strategy consultant and ex-Welsh Guards officer, secretly questioned more than 50 soldiers who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"A British soldier's rifle is not much more useful than a peashooter. He can't attack with any certainty that if he hits the enemy he will kill or incapacitate him," he said.

One soldier in 2nd Battalion, the Rifles in Helmand, shot a Taliban fighter five times and he still got up to dive for cover, researchers were told.

The study claims car doors easily stop the ammunition. It added that Javelin anti-tank missiles -- at 100,000 pounds apiece are often fired at lone gunmen. Just one in four British, US and German troops has been issued with guns using 7.62mm ammo.

Image courtesy: Hellenic Defence Systems
Source: ANI