Britain to Withdraw 500 Troops from Afghanistan

Posted July 6th, 2011 at 11:30 am (UTC-5)
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Britain says it will withdraw 500 troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, reducing the size of its force to 9,000.

British Prime Minister David Cameron told Parliament Wednesday that the drawdown reflects progress made by the Afghan national security force ahead of the deadline for the complete handover of security control to local troops in 2014. He said the decision was right for both Britain and Afghanistan.

The prime minister's announcement comes a day after he returned from a two-day trip to Afghanistan to meet British soldiers and hold talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Mr. Cameron had previously announced that 426 British troops deployed to Afghanistan on temporary missions would be withdrawn by February 2012.

Last month, U.S. President Barack Obama announced 33,000 of 100,000 American troops will leave Afghanistan over the next 14 months.

Germany has also said it will soon start to reduce its contingent of 5,000 armed forces by the end of this year.

And French President Nicolas Sarkozy says his country's troops will be withdrawn in roughly the same proportion and on a similar schedule as that of the United States. France has 4,000 troops in Afghanistan.