MANCHESTER, Britain, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- British Defense Secretary Des Brown said on Monday that British involvement in Iraq has reached a turning point.
"British troops have made a substantial contribution to the fact that next year there can be a fundamental change of mission in Iraq," he said at the five-day on-going Labor Party Conference.
The Iraqi armed forces supported by British and U.S. forces have taken on and defeated the militia in Basra, bringing about a transformation in the quality of life for ordinary Iraqis, he said without mentioning the fact that tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have lost their lives in the course of allied invasion since 2003.
He cited the start of the economic reconstruction as "legacy" of British armed involvement in Iraq.
Despite mounting pressure from people calling troops to come back home after about 180 soldiers were killed in Iraq alone, the defense secretary reiterated that "a 21st century progressive foreign policy requires Britain to have armed forces who can intervene if necessary far from home."
Britain now has 12,000 troops operating in Iraq and Afghanistan.