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First US Troops Begin to Leave Afghanistan


A U.S. soldier with Task Force Red Horse leans on baggage, as they wait out side of the customs office to leave Afghanistan at the U.S. base in Bagram, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, July 14, 2011

A U.S. soldier with Task Force Red Horse leans on baggage, as they wait out side of the customs office to leave Afghanistan at the U.S. base in Bagram, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, July 14, 2011

Several hundred American soldiers left Afghanistan this week, the first group of about 10,000 U.S. troops to be withdrawn from the country by the end of the year.

U.S. military officials confirmed Friday that around 650 U.S. army troops serving in the northern Afghan province of Parwan left for the United States on Wednesday.

Military officials say the soldiers will not be replaced by another unit.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced last month that 33,000 American forces would leave Afghanistan by September of 2012, ending a troop surge that he ordered in 2009.

The remainder of the 100,000 U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan are expected to return home by the end of 2014, when Afghan forces are supposed to take full responsibility for their country's security.

The Afghan war has become increasingly unpopular with the American public. With a trillion dollars spent on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the last decade, President Obama said in a speech last month that it was time to focus on "nation-building at home."

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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