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UK 'should not rush for Afghan exit,' warns British commander

London, Wed, 25 Apr 2012 ANI

London, Apr 25 (ANI): The UK should not 'rush for the exits' in Afghanistan, a commander of a British army brigade in the war-torn nation has warned.

Brigadier Sanders, the outgoing commander of military unit Task Force Helmand, said that if ministers withdraw forces too quickly they would jeopardise the recent progress made by of Afghan security forces.

"We should be cautious in rushing for the exits. We have seen over the last six months real evidence of growing confidence and growing capability but it isn't yet irreversible," the Telegraph quoted Brigadier Sanders, as saying.

He said that Britain must keep its mission in Afghanistan large enough over the next two years to ensure that the Afghans are in a position to take over their own security operations from 2015.

"If transition is going to stick, if we are going to deliver something that is durable post-2014, we need to maintain our commitment through until that point," he said.

Britain has planned to withdraw 500 troops this year and Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered an end to combat operations by the end of 2014.

According to the paper, the withdrawal process may be accelerated by a NATO summit in Chicago next month where the allies will agree a new timetable for reducing their numbers in Afghanistan. (ANI)


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