Swedish Troops to Start Leaving Afghanistan Soon

STOCKHOLM-- The center-right Swedish government says it has reached broad agreement with opposition parties to start withdrawing Sweden's 650 troops from northern Afghanistan by the end of next year.

Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said Wednesday the Nordic country will withdraw its troops progressively with the preliminary aim of completing the departure by summer 2014.

The Swedish troops are part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force near the city Mazar-e-Sharif.

Bildt said the decision follows Afghan President Hamid Karzai's plan to put Afghan troops in charge of security before the end of his presidency in late 2014.

Sweden will continue its aid work in Afghanistan after 2014 and may also provide support and training to Afghan security forces, if that is requested.

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