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Belgium to cut in half Afghan contingent

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Belgium's Defense Minister Pieter De Crem on Sunday proposed to halve the nation's troop numbers in Afghanistan by next year.

Belgium's Defense Minister Pieter De Crem on Sunday proposed to halve the nation's troop numbers in Afghanistan by next year.

De Crem said the pullout would be in line with U.S. President Barack Obama's announcement of the start of the U.S. withdrawal next month. Washington intends to cut a third of its 100,000 troops by next summer.

Out of a total strength of 585 currently in the country, 325-strong contingent of Belgians provide security for Kabul airport. The rest are based mainly in Kandahar in the south, where six Belgian F-16 fighters are deployed.

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