Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Troop levels to drop by 40,000 in Afghanistan

Members of the 49-nation international force in Afghanistan have announced that the number of foreign troops in that nation will shrink by 40,000 by the end of 2012.

The largest planned reduction is from the US, which will remove 33,000 troops. That would represent one-third of the 101,000 American troops in Afghanistan in June, when US military presence was at its peak, according to US defence department figures.

The planned reduction of international troops will give the Afghan forces, who are set to begin training on avoiding civilian casualties next month, a larger presence on the frontlines of the war.

Other nations have announced withdrawal plans for next year as well, but have vowed to continue to play a role in training Afghan police and military in the coming years.

The US-led foreign coalition says Afghan soldiers and police will be ready to secure the entire nation in three years, but Afghans still fear the breakout of another civil war like the one in the 1990s which led to the rise of the Taliban in 1996.