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British General Warns Against Troop Cuts in Afghanistan


A general view shows the scene after suicide blasts near an Italian-run compound in Herat, May 30, 2011

A general view shows the scene after suicide blasts near an Italian-run compound in Herat, May 30, 2011

The top British general in Afghanistan has warned against any significant pullout of troops from the country until late 2012.

In an interview with Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, General James Bucknall said that, in order to hold on to recent gains against the Taliban, the U.S. troop reinforcements that arrived in Afghanistan last year should stay for two more summer fighting seasons.

General Bucknall said any significant withdrawal of troops would send "conflicting signals on commitment to the campaign" in the war-torn country.

Some argue that the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is a good reason to accelerate the pullout from Afghanistan.

Also Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan who will soon end their combat mission and transition to a training role.

During the unannounced visit, Mr. Harper said Afghanistan does not represent a geostrategic risk to the world and is no longer a source of global terrorism.

Meanwhile, Australian officials said Tuesday two of the four coalition soldiers killed in Afghanistan a day earlier were Australian.

Defense Force chief Marshal Angus Houston said one of the soldiers was shot dead by his Afghan colleague, while the other died in a helicopter crash. Their deaths bring the number of Australian soldiers killed in the conflict to 26.

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

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