Thousands of British troops to quit Afghanistan in 2013
(Reuters) - Britain plans to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan next year, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said on Sunday, as pressure mounts to end British involvement in the costly and unpopular war.
More than 430 British troops have been killed in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led intervention in 2001, yet stability remains elusive and violence high, while relations between Western troops and Afghan forces and civilians are increasingly frayed.
Asked about troop withdrawals next year, Hammond told the BBC: "I would expect it will be significant, which means thousands, not hundreds, but I would not expect it to be the majority."
That would indicate a potential withdrawal of up to 4,500 personnel in 2013.