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AP Interview: 2012 US troop drawdown halfway done
AP Interview: top US General in Afghanistan says 2012 pullout of 23,000 US troops half done
By The Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) The top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan says this year's pullout of 23,000 American troops is at the halfway point.

Gen. John Allen told The Associated Press in an interview Sunday that a significant number will leave in August and early September.

Allen cautioned against putting too much emphasis on the U.S. withdrawal, saying that U.S., NATO and Afghan forces will be fighting through the end of 2014 when the NATO combat mission ends and beyond.

President Barack Obama pulled out 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan last year and ordered another 23,000 to be withdrawn by Sept. 30.

U.S. troops are being withdrawn from across Afghanistan. A significant number will be pulling out of the southwest, where the Taliban have strong roots.

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