London, Nov 30 (ANI): The Ministry of Defence has come to the decision that women soldiers will not be allowed to fight on the frontline in battle.
The decision was made after reviewing whether servicewomen should be allowed to engage in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy.
They have always been banned from serving in units whose job is to "close with and kill" the enemy face-to-face - including the infantry and cavalry.
But the Government has rejected plans to scrap the existing rules amid concerns male soldiers were more likely to risk death to try to save a wounded female comrade instead of fighting on.
The decision means only male personnel will perform close combat roles on the battlefield even though women have served with distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Defence minister Andrew Robathan said the 18-month review had found "no evidence to show that a change in current policy would be beneficial or risk-free".
Women can find themselves on the frontline and extremely close to the enemy while serving as medics, intelligence specialists, artillery spotters, logisticians or signallers. owever they remain barred from all infantry battalions and Royal Marine Commando units - including Special Forces - and from tank regiments and other armoured units.
The ban has not stopped women being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan where they are at risk from roadside bombs even away from the frontline.
Ministers and Armed Forces chiefs warned of "potential risks" to "cohesion" in four or five-man close combat teams if women were allowed to fight.
"The key issue is the potential impact of having both men and women in small teams," the Daily Mail quoted an MoD source as saying.
Under the conditions of high-intensity close-quarter battle, team cohesion becomes of much greater importance, and failure can have far-reaching and grave consequences.
"We are not talking about barring women from the frontline. This is about those small teams who fix bayonets and grenades and charge into a bunker to kill the enemy," the source added. (ANI)