‘Britain to pull 500 troops from Afghanistan’ | Pakistan Today

‘Britain to pull 500 troops from Afghanistan’

Britain will withdraw a further 500 troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year, but will keep soldiers in the country in a training role until at least 2023, Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday. His confirmation that the second largest foreign contingent in Afghanistan will be reduced to 9,000 came a fortnight after President Barack Obama announced a big drawdown of US forces. Despite concerns expressed by US and British military officers, Cameron said the withdrawal was possible because Afghanistan’s fledgling army and police were increasingly confident as the West prepares to hand over security duties by 2015. “Today I can announce that the UK will be able to reduce its force levels by a further 500 from 9,500 to 9,000 by the end of 2012,” Cameron told the House of Commons.
The announcement comes a day after Cameron returned from a two-day visit to Afghanistan to meet British troops based in the troubled southern province of Helmand and to hold talks with President Hamid Karzai in Kabul. He added: “This decision is not only right for Britain, it is right for Afghanistan too. It has given the Afghans a clear deadline against which to plan and has injected a sense of urgency into their efforts. “Having taken such a huge share of the burden, and having performed so magnificently for a decade, the country needs to know that there is an end point to the level of our current commitment and to our combat operations,” he said.

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