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Prime Minister visits Afghanistan

PM: "I'm confident we can bring British troops home as I promised by the end of 2014"

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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Prime Minister David Cameron today arrived in Helmand Province for a tour of Camp Bastion, the UK’s largest Afghan base. Mr Cameron visited frontline troops from the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment at the Shawqat base in Nad-e-Ali and saw a provincial reconstruction team in Lashkar Gah.

Asked about major reductions in troop numbers, the Prime Minister said it had been a difficult decision to make but insisted the coalition needed a defence budget which made sense.

Discussing the withdrawal of British troops, Mr Cameron said:

“What I will commit to is that we will do this in a sensible, ordered, practical way - 9,500 to 9,000 this year. As Afghan troops take a bigger role we will be able to reduce troop numbers further next year.

“I don’t want to see some cliff edge. I’m confident we are going to have a staged reduction and deliver a safe and secure situation.”

He added:

“I’m very pleased to be here because I want to thank our Armed Forces for all the incredible work that they do.”

Published 18 July 2012