Around 3,800 British troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan during 2013, David Cameron announced.
The Prime Minister told the House of Commons yesterday that the strength of the UK force will be reduced from 9,000 to 5,200 by the end of next year. The partial withdrawal paves the way for the final removal of the bulk of British personnel from the central Asian country as planned by the end of 2014, said Mr Cameron.
Mr Cameron’s announcement during the weekly session of Prime Minister’s Questions came around half an hour ahead of the quarterly update on the situation in Afghanistan to MPs by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.
The Prime Minister told MPs: “We have two decisions to make. First of all, the decision about the drawdown of troops between now and the end of 2014.
“What the Defence Secretary will announce is that because of the success of our forces and the Afghan National Security Forces, and the fact that we are moving from mentoring at a battalion level to mentoring at a brigade level by the end of 2013, we will be able to see troops come home in two relatively even steps – 2013 and 2014 – leaving probably around 5,200 troops after the end of 2013, compared with the 9,000 that we have now.
“It’s a good moment again to pay tribute to the incredible work they’ve done, many of them going back for tour after tour. The ones I’ve spoken to recently have been particularly impressed by the capacity of the Afghan national forces.”