Britain: Afghan forces will need help for years

| Saturday, June 29, 2013, 6:09 p.m.

A senior British military official suggested on Saturday that Afghanistan will need support from the United Kingdom through NATO-led forces for three to five more years, beyond the planned withdrawal date of British troops at the end of 2014.

Afghanistan's army needs work on coordinating close air support, casualty evacuation and logistics support, the official, who declined to be identified in accordance with government policy, told reporters in the Afghan province of Helmand.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to withdraw all combat forces by the end of next year.

NATO handed over security control to Afghan forces on June 18. The U.K. has committed to help run Afghanistan's Officer Academy and provide financial support to Afghan forces. British troop numbers in the country have been cut to 7,900 as of the end of May from 9,000 at the beginning of 2013.

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