The Baghdad security plan in which tens of thousands of Iraqi and American troops are taking part is faltering, according to officials.

The officials who refuse to be named say that while violence has abated in certain parts of the capital, insurgents and terrorists have increased their attacks in other parts of the city and surrounding areas.

These officials believe that the insurgents have shifted their focus to towns and villages south and north of Baghdad. There, pitched battles are reportedly taking place leading to a substantial rise in American casualties.

Car and suicide bombings in Baghdad have continued unabated. The horrifying sight of scores of corpses being dumped daily on the streets, something that came to a halt for only a few days, is seen as a heavy blow to the plan.

Nonetheless, Iraqi army generals are upbeat, saying that the plan is having some success. They say they have killed dozens of “terrorists,” captured hundreds and seized huge weapons caches.

But with the troops concentrated in Baghdad, rebels and insurgents have intensified their operations in other areas and are reported to have even spread to areas well outside their previous strongholds.

Bombings in other cities and on the highways south of Baghdad have made these places which were relatively safe extremely dangerous, particularly at night.

News that Britain is planning to withdraw its troops has emboldened resistance groups determined to force all occupation forces out of Iraq.

These groups see Britain's decision to scale down its troop levels as a sign of imminent victory and the beginning of the end of the presence of foreign forces.

Though welcomed by some Iraqi political leaders, Britain's move could not have come at a worse time for the American government and its plan to secure Baghdad.

The move has sent the insurgents a long-awaited signal that the days of U.S. occupation are numbered.

Without U.S. forces, the insurgents will easily overwhelm the Iraqi security forces.