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Canada Set to End Combat Mission in Afghanistan

Brig.-Gen Dean Milner, Commander of Canadian forces in Afghanistan, speaks during a ceremony marking the Canadian handover of forward fire base Masum Ghar to US forces in Panjwaii district in Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan, July 5, 2011

Canada is set to end its combat mission in Afghanistan after nine years of fighting as part of the U.S.-led NATO coalition.

Hundreds of troops will carry out a training mission in the capital, Kabul, until 2014, but combat operations end Thursday in accordance with a deadline set by Canada's parliament three years ago.

Canada has had about 3,000 troops in Afghanistan, mainly in the southern Kandahar province. Since deploying in 2002, 157 Canadian soldiers have died in Afghanistan.

All foreign combat troops are expected to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan and transfer security control to local forces by the end of 2014.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced Wednesday Britain will withdraw 500 of its troops by the end of 2012, reducing the size of its force to 9,000.

U.S. President Barack Obama said last month 33,000 of the 100,000 American troops will leave Afghanistan over the next 14 months.

Germany and France have also announced plans to draw down their forces.

Separately, the Netherlands is sending 160 troops to Afghanistan this week to help support the training of Afghan forces.

Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal visited Dutch troops stationed in the eastern Afghan province of Kunduz earlier this week.

In all, 545 Dutch soldiers and police trainers will be deployed in Afghanistan.

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