NATO Allies Have a Head Start on Afghan Withdrawal

Canadian Army Private Danny Drapeau lowering flag in handover of forward fire base Zangabad to U.S. forces in Kandahar, 6/19/11.

From Rod Nordland, the New York Times: While officials here wait to hear what President Obama has to say about the pace of United States troop withdrawal, some of the NATO allies have a slight head start.

Canada, which has 2,922 troops in Afghanistan, the fifth-largest military contingent among the countries contributing forces to the International Security Assistance Force, began to withdraw all of them on Tuesday. . . .

And on Wednesday, the British foreign secretary, William Hague, said in a statement to Parliament that Britain had already withdrawn 200 troops, with another 200 expected to follow soon. However, a NATO spokesman in Kabul said that those numbers were part of a planned reduction in British forces, in which 450 troops who were in Afghanistan to help in air transport of surge troops were due to go home in June in any case.  (photo: Reuters)

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