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Page last updated at 07:54 GMT, Thursday, 23 June 2011 08:54 UK

Dannatt: US Afghan plan is 'bold, but risky'


The former head of the British Army, Lord Dannatt, has said that President Obama's plan to slash the number of US troops in Afghanistan is a "bold, but risky" move.

His comments come after the president confirmed to the American people that 33,000 US troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of next summer. In a televised speech, he said the tide of war was receding, and that Afghan forces would take full control of the country's security by 2014.

And, after comments by the current head of the Army, General Sir Peter Wall, that the 2015 "deadline" for ending UK combat operations could be varied by conditions on the ground, Lord Dannatt said it was "cheap and wrong to say the military are just looking for a military solution".

He told Today presenter Justin Webb: "Undoubtedly conditions on the ground are really important to guide what the military does, but the government of the day has made it quite clear that by 2015 our combat operations will have ended. That's the government's decision.

"Peter Wall understands exactly what I am saying, that this situation is essentially one with a political outcome. Of course conditions on the ground determine the speed at which you can do things, but it's been made quite clear that we will have stopped our combat role by 2014-2015."

Earlier this week David Cameron told air force and navy chiefs who questioned the mission in Libya: "You do the fighting, I'll do the talking."

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