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UK Soldiers to Stay Longer in Afghanistan

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TEHRAN, July 18 (ICANA) – British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has been warned by the House of Commons Defence Committee that withdrawing British troops would be “a dangerous move” endangering the lives of those left behind.
Monday, July 18, 2011 9:17:50 PM
UK Soldiers to Stay Longer in Afghanistan

In a visit to Afghanistan, Cameron announced that 500 more troops were to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 2009. That would make the total number of British troops in Afghanistan 9,000.

Moreover, Cameron has announced several times that all British combat troops would leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, a time that coincides with the next general election.

Nevertheless, the chairman of the defence committee, James Arbuthnot, said that soldier withdrawal should not be based on a rigid time table.

"We believe that the Nato 'conditions-based approach' to withdrawal is a suitable one. Withdrawal must have due regard to the circumstances at the time. There are still many challenges facing the Afghan National Security Forces and Afghan government before proper transition can take place," he said.

Arbuthnot resorted to Afghans' security to justify his claims saying that the British governments' decision must not cause "the Afghan population to fear that the international coalition might abandon them or by allowing the Taliban and others to think that all they have to do is to bide their time until the Isaf [International Security Assistance Force] withdraws."

Nevertheless, as 1,462 Afghan civilians were killed in the first half of 2011, the security conditions in Afghanistan seem to have deteriorated drastically.

Figures released by the United Nations depict a bleak picture of Afghans' situation. “The rising tide of violence and bloodshed in the first half of 2011 brought injury and death to Afghan civilians at levels without recorded precedent in the current armed conflict," said a UN report.

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