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British PM British Prime Minister Pledges To Pull Out Troops By 2014

British Prime Minister David Cameron meets British soldiers based at Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province.
On a surprise visit to Afghanistan, the British prime minister has repeated a pledge that British combat troops will be withdrawn from the country by the end of 2014.

David Cameron held talks with British and Afghan officials in the southern province of Helmand during a previously unannounced trip on July 18.

After visiting soldiers at a base in Lashkar Gah, Helmand's regional capital, and at smaller forward base in Nad Ali, Cameron said he believed the handover of security duties from foreign to local forces was progressing well.

Britain has around 9,500 troops in Afghanistan.

Its contingent is second in size only to U.S. troop strength among Western forces in Afghanistan.

Britain plans to pull 500 troops out by December but has not given a timetable for others to leave.

NATO plans to turn over responsibility for security to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa