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No plans to accelerate withdrawal of Australian troops from Afghanistan: DM


08:20, December 13, 2011

CANBERRA, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith said on Monday there were no plans to accelerate the withdrawal of soldiers from Afghanistan.

About 1,550 Australian troops are currently training and mentoring some 3,500 Afghan soldiers, and Smith said Australia was "on track" to transition an Afghan-led security force by 2014.

"We may well get there earlier than 2014 but that outcome is conditions-based," Smith told reporters in Perth. "We're neither seeking to rush, nor seeking to slow it down."

Smith claimed the government would have a plan about the principles that would apply for the transition process by the next North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit in Chicago of the U.S., scheduled for May next year.

Media reports had suggested that the number of Australian troops in Afghanistan will be slashed over the next 12 months under a plan being worked on within the Defense Force.

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