TEN female soldiers have been sent home from military news Afghanistan – after falling pregnant.
Strict Army rules ban intimate contact between personnel.
But it was revealed yesterday that more than 100 pregnancy tests have been requested since April – double the number of the previous six months – with ten proving positive.
Army chiefs have been forced to fly the women home, away from the front line.
And one former commander admitted: “Isolated together in intense circumstances when the next day you could be dead, these figures are not a surprise.”
Former Lieutenant Colonel Robin Matthews said: “You now have large numbers of women serving on the modern day battlefield in a way that is entirely new in our military history.
“Together, both servicemen and women face an uncertain future and, as those bonds of war strengthen, inevitably relationships will develop.
“Perhaps what it shows above all else is that our brave men and women facing the Taliban are really very human.”
Combat units arriving in the warzone are warned on arrival of a “no touching” rule.
Flouting the laws can result in a dressing down by a commanding officer, or more serious disciplinary action, depending on the rank of the offenders.
Despite going against Army rules, women who fall pregnant while serving in a warzone are not being carpeted.
They are sent home for their own welfare and that of their unborn child.
An Army source said: “Although they may have broken the “no touching” rule, little would be achieved by disciplining them.”
There are now 700 women serving in Afghanistan alongside 8500 men.
The vital role played by women in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan has changed the face of the Army in recent years.
While women are banned from frontline infantry regiments, many combat units have female medics or doctors who will patrol or be flown to the scene of an emergency.
Women also serve in significant numbers in the Royal Logistics Corps, supplying frontline bases with food, water and ammo.
Two women medics – Private Michelle Norris, 18, in Iraq and Able Seaman Kate Nesbitt, 20, in Afghanistan – were awarded the Military Cross after showing outstanding bravery while tending the wounded on the battlefield.
Yesterday a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence confirmed: “Between April 31 and October 31 this year, ten female service personnel were aero-medically evacuated from Afghanistan because they were pregnant.”
The spokesman added: “All personnel are expected to behave within the code of conduct.
“If women discover they are pregnant they are returned to the UK at the first opportunity for their own wellbeing.”
The Army Code of Conduct states that troops are banned from sex during operations because of the impact on the “efficiency” of the unit.
In Britain, sex between troops is permitted as long as they are not within each other’s “chain of command”.
Married soldiers who cheat can also face disciplinary action for tarnishing the reputation of the armed forces.
And using a position of power to take advantage of a person in a lower rank is also forbidden.