Gates: No risks in troop reduction in Afghanistan

By REUTERS
June 5, 2011 15:03

KANDAHAR - The gradual withdrawal of US combat troops from Afghanistan set to begin next month will be done responsibly and will not expose other coalition and Afghan forces to undue risks, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Sunday.

US General David Petraeus, commander of the 150,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, will soon make recommendations to President Barack Obama about how many should be withdrawn, following Obama's pledge last year to start bringing US combat troops home.

The commitment followed Obama's December 2009 decision to send 30,000 extra US troops in a bid to arrest a growing Taliban-led insurgency. Fighting increased dramatically, particularly in the Taliban heartland in the south, since the last of those extra troops arrived last summer.


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