General Sir Richard Dannatt said their presence was making security in Iraq worse and aggravating the security threat elsewhere in the world.
His comments come in an interview with the British newspaper "The Daily Mail." Britain has about 7,000 troops in Iraq, mostly in the south.
However, Dannatt later appeared to soften his previous stance. In a brief statement, he said, "We don't do surrender. We will remain in southern Iraq until the job is done."
(Reuters, AP, AFP)