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British forces eye Afghanistan withdrawal

Feb. 27, 2010 at 9:14 AM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Recent advances against the Taliban mean British forces could begin to withdraw from Afghanistan as early as next year, Gen. David Richards said.

The British army commander in Afghanistan said some troops could begin withdrawing in 2011, with the majority leaving by 2015, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday in an exclusive.

Richards said this month's NATO-led assault in southern Afghanistan was showing "optimistic signs" that the Taliban had been weakened.

"The Taliban is now beginning to realize that they can lose this war, which was not the view they had a year ago," he said. "We have to reinforce the view that they can, and will, be beaten."

The recent success, Richards said, was due in part to British troops receiving more badly needed military equipment.

"We have been holding our own in very hard circumstances for years," Richards said. "Now for the first time we have the resources we have been seeking."

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