U.S.-led forces in 2001 invaded Afghanistan and removed the Taliban from power. The Taliban were harboring al-Qaida, which coordinated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
International forces in Afghanistan are handing over security responsibilities to their Afghan counterparts as they prepare to exit the country next year. Justine Greening, British secretary of state for international development, issued a report to lawmakers on progress made to that end.
"We are protecting the U.K. by ensuring that Afghanistan is not used as a base for terrorism against our country and our allies," she said in a statement Thursday.
Nearly 450 members of the British military died while on duty in Afghanistan since 2001. Greening said British forces had four bases in the country, down from 137 at the height of the conflict. By the end of the year, there will be 5,200 personnel deployed in the country, down from the 7,900 in May.
For Afghan defense, Greening said there were approximately 352,000 national forces in service in the country. They are leading 93 percent of all operations in Afghanistan, she said.
A summer report to the British government said Afghan forces might not be up to the task of securing the country.
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