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British combat troops to pull out of Afghanistan by 2014: defense secretary

07-19-2010 08:20 BJT

LONDON, July 18 (Xinhua) -- British troops are planning to pull out of Afghanistan by 2014, Britain's Defense Secretary Liam Fox said on Sunday.

In an interview with BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Fox said "It has always been our aim to be successful in the mission and the mission has always said that the Afghan national security forces would be able to deal with their own security by 2014."

Earlier, a report of The Independent said on Sunday that a secret document reportedly mapped out a blueprint for the withdrawal of NATO troops within months, with the Afghan National Security Forces taking control of military operations by the end of 2014.

The disclosure of the document comes after British Foreign Secretary William Hague hinted at British troops withdrawing by 2014 but stressed that the government was not "setting a timetable for what happens over the next few years".

Hague will attend the Kabul conference with foreign ministers from more than 70 countries, alongside U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Fox refused to comment on the leaked document, but did say British Prime Minister David Cameron had made it very clear he did not want British combat troops in Afghanistan beyond 2015.

Meanwhile, Britain is to boost spending on aid projects in Afghanistan by 40 percent in a bid to speed up the withdrawal of troops.

Britain's International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell will declare on Monday that securing progress in the turbulent nation is his "number one priority."


Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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