UK’s Cameron wants women in army combat roles next year
FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2012 file photo, female soldiers training on a firing range while wearing new body armor in Fort Campbell, Ky. Members of the U.S. special operations forces say that allowing women to serve in Navy SEAL, Army Delta or other commando units could hurt their effectiveness, lower the standards and drive men away from the jobs. (AP)

LONDON: British Prime Minister David Cameron says he wants front-line combat roles opened up to female soldiers by the end of 2016.

Cameron said Sunday that he and Defense Secretary Michael Fallon and “are united in wanting to see all roles in our armed forces opened up to women in 2016,” including “ground combat roles.”

British women can serve as fighter pilots, sailors and submariners but not in infantry or armored corps units whose primary role is close-quarters combat.

Last year the government approved having women in combat, subject to a review of the physical demands to ensure female soldiers won’t suffer long-term detrimental effects to their health. The review is to publish its report in mid-2016.

Countries including the U.S., Canada, Australia and Israel already allow women in combat roles.

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