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Originally published Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 3:02 PM

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UK PM visits Afghanistan, says there's progress

British Prime Minister David Cameron says Afghanistan is doing better than expected and defending recently announced plans for U.K. forces in the country to be roughly halved to 5,200 next year.

The Associated Press

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LONDON —

British Prime Minister David Cameron says Afghanistan is doing better than expected and defending recently announced plans for U.K. forces in the country to be roughly halved to 5,200 next year.

Cameron was in Afghanistan for a pre-Christmas visit to the British troops, who form the second-largest NATO contingent fighting to stop the Taliban insurgency ahead of a planned withdrawal date of 2014.

The U.S.-led international coalition formed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks hopes to hand security responsibilities over to a stable, friendly Afghan government.

Cameron said in remarks broadcast Thursday that Afghanistan is still a "deeply challenged country" but insisted progress had been made since 2001.

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