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Page last updated at 06:58 GMT, Wednesday, 21 July 2010 07:58 UK

Former army chief: 'Keep open mind' on Afghan exit

Former head of the army General Sir Michael Jackson has suggested that the government should not be "too pedantic about dates" of withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan.

The comments follow Prime Minister David Cameron's suggestion that "people in Britain should understand we're not going to be there in five years' time, in 2015, with combat troops or large numbers".

General Sir Michael said that the plan was "ambitious" but that "a plan does not equal reality, if conditions do not go the way of the plan".

"We need to keep an open mind".

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