LONDON — The head of Britain's armed forces said Sunday that Al-Qaeda can never be completely beaten, but argued that outright victory is "unnecessary" as long as governments are able to contain the militants.

"First of all you have to ask: do we need to defeat it (Islamist militancy) in the sense of a clear cut victory? I would argue that it is unnecessary and would never be achieved," General David Richards told the Sunday Telegraph.

"But can we contain it to the point that our lives and our children's lives are led securely? I think we can."

His comments were published on Remembrance Sunday, when Britain pays tribute to its war dead, such as those killed in Afghanistan, where troops have been deployed since 2001 to disrupt Al-Qaeda militants there.

Richards said the real weapon in the war against the terror group led by Osama bin Laden was "education and democracy".