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World News

U.S. troops begin Afghan withdrawal

The first troops to leave Afghanistan as part of the U.S. drawdown handed over their slice of battlefield July 13 to a unit less than half their size and started packing for home.

When the 650 members of the Iowa National Guard's 1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry Regiment arrived in Afghanistan in November 2010, bases didn't have enough housing, translators were in short supply and chow halls were packed. Commanders were using a buildup of 33,000 extra troops for a major push that they said would turn the tide of the war against the Taliban insurgency.

Nine months later, it's still unclear if that push has succeeded, but the pullback has begun. Although major combat units are not expected to start leaving until late fall, two National Guard regiments comprising about 1,000 soldiers in all are withdrawing this month - the Iowa soldiers from Parwan province in eastern Afghanistan, and the other group from the capital, Kabul. (AP)


Shukan ST: July 29, 2011

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