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Britain Considers Early Withdrawal From Afghanistan

British soldiers patrol a street in Kabul.
British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond says London is considering bringing some troops back from Afghanistan earlier than expected.

In an interview with “The Guardian,” Hammond admitted that six months ago the military was pushing "for keeping force levels as high as possible for as long as possible."

But he added that commanders had been "surprised by the extent to which they have been able to draw back and leave the Afghans to take the lion's share of the combat role."

Britain is due to withdraw 500 soldiers by the end of this year, leaving 9,000 soldiers to help the Afghan security forces.

But Hammond said that “the message I am getting clearly from the military is that it might be possible to draw down further troops in 2013."

The British government has said it intends to pull out all its combat troops by the end of 2014.

Based on reporting by "The Guardian"