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Drawdown begins, US troops leave Afghanistan

Drawdown begins, US troops leave Afghanistan

Jul 15, 2011 - 15:40

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Kicking off a gradual drawdown, around 650 US army troops deployed in the central province of Parwan, north-west of Kabul, flew out on Wednesday, the US military confirmed on Friday.

The departed troops will not be replaced by an incoming unit, according to the US military media office at Bagram airbase.

US President Barack Obama in June announced that 33,000 American troops would leave Afghanistaninfo-icon by the end of next summer, leaving behind 65,000 and effectively ending a military surge ordered in late 2009.

US officers have said that a total of about 800 soldiers in two Army units will depart this month. The US military said the troops left for home in various airplanes.

"It's correct that these soldiers are the first to redeploy from Afghanistan without being replaced by a new rotation of soldiers since the president's announcement," the military told Pajhwok Afghan News. 

US Army Lieutenant General David Rodriguez, the outgoing operations commander, identified the 113th and 134th Cavalry Regiments  as the first units to redeploy as part of the drawdown.

The US army said these units were always scheduled to return home at this time. However, it wasn't until late last month that they found out they wouldn't be replaced by incoming units. 

"In the case of the 113th Cav., their mission is being turned over to a unit already in Afghanistan and the 134th Cav's mentoring mission has ended and its security responsibility in Kabul province has been turned over to Afghan National Security Forces."

The process will continue over the course of the next several days, the coalition said.


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