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News Link • Afghanistan

UK plans to keep troops in Afghanistan for '30 or 40 years'

The Chief of the Defence Staff said that Nato now needs to plan for a 30 or 40 year role to help the Afghan armed forces hold their country against the militants. General Richards stuck to the government’s plans to withdraw combat troops by 2014 but made clear that thousands of troops will be needed long after that date. David Cameron will join other leaders in Lisbon on Friday for a summit to plot the Nato strategy. Asked whether it will take 30 to 40 years to turn the country around, Gen Richards said: ‘I think it will. Over the next four to five years we will remain in the combat role but progressively less so as the Afghan army and police grow in capability. ‘Everyone is clear that we will have to remains a lot longer than that in order to make sure we consolidate on all that hard work. The plans are now in place to do that. ‘I think the Lisbon Nato summit, that comes up very shortly, in fact next weekend, will make that rather clearer than it has been to date.’

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