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Defence Secretary Philip Hammond. — File Photo by AFP

LONDON: British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is considering bringing some British troops back from Afghanistan earlier than expected, he said in an interview published on Thursday.

“I think that the message I am getting clearly from the military is that it might be possible to draw down further troops in 2013,” Hammond told The Guardian in an interview at Camp Bastion in Helmand province.

Hammond said that six months ago the military was privately pushing “for keeping force levels as high as possible for as long as possible”.

But he said “I think there is a bit of a rethinking going on about how many troops we do actually need — there may be some scope for a little bit more flexibility on the way we draw down.”

The British government has said it intends to pull out all its 9,500 combat troops by the end of 2014.

Comments (4) Closed

Cyrus Howell Sep 14, 2012 05:25am
As a soldier I'd want to get out of there early. Like about yesterday. Hamid Karsai did the best he could but there is a hole in the boat.
Dilawer Sep 14, 2012 07:00am
Wise thing to do, Mr. Hammond. You don't want to get bogged down with kidnappings and other nasty things in that part of the World. Afghans are fiercely independent just like any other nation. If some other nation enters in the UK then my stand would be with UK.
Khalid Latif Sep 14, 2012 04:19pm
Well said.
Khalid Latif Sep 14, 2012 04:28pm
When every one is gone in 2014, it will be interesting to find out, what kept them for so long in Afghanistan and what has been gained by any of the involved parties. What about the thousands of innocents murder? Wasn't it like a 'clay pigeon' shooting get together?