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Mon Aug 20, 2012, 07:27 AM

New Zealand PM says to move forward Afghan withdrawal

Source: Reuters

New Zealand PM says to move forward Afghan withdrawal

WELLINGTON | Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:20am EDT

(Reuters) - New Zealand will accelerate the withdrawal of its soldiers from Afghanistan after it lost another three troops in a province thought to have been the country's safest, but which is now being increasingly targeted by Taliban insurgents.

Prime Minister John Key said on Monday it was "highly likely" Wellington would start the pullout of its 145-strong contingent by next April, around six months earlier than expected.

But the drawdown would happen over months and "not days", Key said, adding the accelerated timetable was not because of the five soldiers killed this month in central Bamiyan and increasing unpopularity of the war among voters.

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Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/20/us-afghanistan-nz-idUSBRE87J07I20120820

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