(LONDON) — Britain is considering hastening the pace of its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The goal of the U.S. and its coalition allies is to pull out virtually all forces by sometime in 2014 in accordance with the wishes of the Afghan government.
While the U.S. currently has an estimated 67,000 soldiers in the country, Britain is second most with 9,000.
British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond is now suggesting that his government could order thousands of troops out of Afghanistan in a year from now because he is “surprised by the extent to which they have been able to draw back and leave the Afghans to take the lion’s share of the combat role.”
Hammond also stressed that the British drawdown would be coordinated by how the U.S. sees the situation develop in Afghanistan a year from now.
He emphasized that while the Afghan military has seemed to improve at a faster rate than expected, the government is lacking when it comes to taking diplomatic steps to end the nearly 11-year war.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Angela Dewan and Donie O'Sullivan, CNN
Ben Westcott, CNN
Joshua Berlinger, Marilia Brocchetto and Fernando Ramos, CNN
Laura Smith-Spark and Jose Manuel Rodriguez, CNN