Fewer Afghan troops in Helmand

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There are fewer Aghan National Army soldiers fighting alongside UK troops, figures have shown

The number of Afghan National Army soldiers fighting alongside British troops in Helmand fell by 10% over the past year, the Government has revealed.

British and American soldiers have been training Afghan recruits as part of the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) mission in war-torn southern Afghanistan province.

Military leaders and ministers insist the ANA must be able to handle the country’s security before British forces pull out of Afghanistan.

But figures released show the number of Isaf-trained ANA troops “present for duty” in the main fighting areas fell from 2,351 in October 2009 to 2,102 in November last year.

Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey said the fall represented the shrinking size of Task Force Helmand (TFH), meaning fewer soldiers were needed.

He said: “While the number of ANA personnel appears to be decreasing overall, in fact there has been an improvement in the number of ANA in the TFH area of operations and in Helmand as a whole.”

Mr Harvey was answering a written question from Tory Patrick Mercer (Newark), a former Army officer.

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