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Germany to cut Afghan-based troops by a quarter over the next year

Germany's foreign minister says his country is planning to reduce its troop contingent in Afghanistan by about a quarter over the next year as it moves to bring all combat soldiers home by the end of 2014.

Guido Westerwelle told reporters Wednesday that the government is proposing to reduce German troops, who operate primarily in the north of the conflict-stricken country, from 4,400 to 3,300 by February 2014.

Parliament's approval will be needed, but such plans have been rubber-stamped in the past.

Even after the troops are gone, Westerwelle says Germany will continue to provide Afghanistan with long-term non-military assistance.