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Britain's Cameron Promises Support For Afghanistan Despite Drawdown

British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during a joint press conference in Kabul on July 5.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged greater humanitarian support for Afghanistan in light of the British troop drawdown set for 2014.

Speaking alongside Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul today, Cameron said:

"Because yes, we will be drawing down some of our troops this year and next year and, yes, we will be ending combat operations by the end of 2014 we won't have troops in anything like that number we have now, but we will have a long-term relationship."

The British leader also announced plans to build a top military academy for Afghan National Army training, saying the United States had already promised $38 million for the project.

Cameron's comments come a day after General David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said the focus of the war there was about to shift from Taliban strongholds in the south to the country's poorly guarded border with Pakistan in the east.

The U.S.-led coalition has concentrated most of its troops and attention in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in southern Afghanistan.

Petraeus, who is set to become shortly the director of the CIA, will be succeeded by U.S. Marine Lieutenant General John Allen on July 18.

Petraeus's exit from Afghanistan comes as the United States begins a 15-month drawdown of some 33,000 troops by September 2012.

compiled from agency reports