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