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Tuesday 6 June 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images David Cameron addresses troops in Helmand Province in Afghanistan (File photo)
# Afghanistan
David Cameron at loggerheads with military chiefs over Afghanistan troop withdrawals
British Prime Minister wants solders brought home from Afghanistan, but there is worry that his motivation is political rather than strategic.

DAVID CAMERON SAYS he wants to bring British troops home from Afghanistan, but military chiefs are warning him that an early exit could give the Taliban an advantage.

The Telegraph reports that the British Prime Minister wants hundreds of soldiers withdrawn from Afghanistan this summer. The US is planning to reduce troop numbers by 5,000 in the country by July. France is also considering speeding up its withdrawal of troops in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death.

British military commanders are warning Cameron that taking soldiers out of Afghanistan would harm the counter-insurgency mission against the Taliban. They have agreed to remove 450 troops, a small fraction of Britain’s 10,000 personnel currently posted in Afghanistan. Cameron says he wants the combat mission to be over by 2014, in time for the next general election.

The Telegraph quotes a government source as saying there is concern that the Prime Minister is being driven by politics rather than strategy.

British diplomats meanwhile are being withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan and redeployed to emerging economic powers in Asia and Latin America. Foreign Secretary William Hague says the redeployment heralds a change in the nature of UK military involvement in Afghanistan.

- Additional reporting by AP

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