U.S. troops to end main Haiti mission

08:15, April 20, 2010      

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The U.S. military will end its main mission by early June in Haiti after a devastating earthquake in January, the Pentagon said Monday.

Army Lt. Gen. Ken Keen, who served as commander of Joint Task Force Haiti until Sunday, said he expects U.S. military presence in Haiti to decrease from the 2,200-strong now to about 500 by June 1.

"I expect us to -- on or about 1 June -- to be able to stand down the Joint Task Force," Keen said. "We will be able to do that, because of the capability that's being built up and has [been] built up by civilian organizations ... the need for our military diminishes."

Haiti has been the focus of an expansive international relief effort in the wake of what is considered one of the greatest humanitarian emergencies in the history of the Americas. A devastating Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti killed an estimated 250, 000 people and displaced more than one million.

At the height of the U.S. military effort there, some 22,000 forces were in or around Haiti, including 7,000 land-based troops, with the remainder operating aboard 58 aircraft and 15 nearby vessels, according to American Forces Press Service.



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