LONDON - British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said on Sunday he planned to withdraw thousands of British troops from Afghanistan next year.

"I would expect it will be significant, which means thousands, not hundreds, but I would not expect it to be the majority," Hammond told the BBC, after being asked about troop withdrawals next year.

Britain is withdrawing some 500 of its soldiers from Afghanistan this year, leaving around 9,000. All British combat troops are set to be repatriated by the end of 2014.

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