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UK plans rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan

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British defense secretary: 'We are not a global policeman'

Senior British officials, including new Foreign Secretary William Hague, arrived in Afghanistan Saturday with a warning that Britain wants to withdraw its troops as soon as possible.

Hague, Defense Secretary Liam Fox and International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell are set to meet President Hamid Karzai in their first visit to the country since a new coalition government took power in London this month.

Hague described Afghanistan -- where around 10,000 British troops are helping fight a Taliban-led insurgency well into its ninth year -- as "our most urgent priority" in comments released from London as the party touched down.

In an interview with The Times newspaper before arriving in Kabul, Fox made clear the visit would focus on speeding up the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan, and that no new troops would be deployed.

 

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