British PM Cameron says he wants UK troops out of Afghanistan within five years


LONDON (BNO NEWS) — British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday told television news channel Sky News that he wants UK troops out of Afghanistan within five years.

“We cannot be there for another five years having effectively been there for nine years already,” he said, just weeks after becoming prime minister.

“But Britain should have a long-term relationship with Afghanistan, including helping to train and support their troops and the government long after the vast bulk of (our) troops have gone,” Cameron said during an interview in Canada, where Cameron is for the G-20 summit.

“Let’s get the conditions so the troops can come home but let’s remember there should always be training missions, diplomatic missions and trade missions in Afghanistan as part of a very strong relationship,” Cameron added.

The rate of military fatalities in Afghanistan has sharply risen over the past year, increasing criticism on the mission. Since January 1st, nearly 300 NATO service members have been killed in Afghanistan – 60 of those from the United Kingdom.

A vast majority of the other fatalities were from the United States, and a majority of all NATO service members killed so far this year died as a result of improvised explosive device (IED) attacks.

The U.S. led war in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001 in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

The first British casualty from the war was on April 9, 2002. Lance Cpl. Darren John George, 22, from the 1st Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment, was accidentally shot in the head while on patrol in Kabul.

After that, the number of British fatalities stayed low compared to recent years. The second and third British fatalities were 30-year-old Sergeant Robert Busuttil and 30-year-old Corporal John Gregory, both from Royal Logistics Corps, on August 17, 2002.

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