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'US surge to remain next year in Afghanistan'

world Updated: Oct 15, 2011 01:43 IST
AFP
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Most of a US force sent by President Barack Obama to Afghanistan will stay in place through next year's "fighting season," defence secretary Leon Panetta has said, as commanders push to keep troops on the ground as long as possible.

Panetta told lawmakers that 10,000 troops would be out as planned by the end of the year with the remaining 23,000 to remain deployed through next summer. "We've already taken down by the end of this year the first 10,000 of the surge that was put in," he told the House Armed Services Committee.

Panetta's remarks came as top officials and military officers have raised the possibility of a future US military role beyond a planned withdrawal date of December 2014.

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