President rejects US call for troops to Afghanistan

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has rejected a call by the United States to send Sri Lankan troops to war-torn Afghanistan, the Government Information Department said.

According foreign media reports most international troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. In December 2012 there were about 102,000 Nato troops serving in Afghanistan from 50 contributing nations, the International Security and Assistance Force (Isaf) said.

Of these the bulk – about 68,000 – are US troops, the BBC reported.

The number of US forces in Afghanistan peaked at about 101,000 in 2011, taking full Nato force numbers to about 140,000. But an extra 33,000 American soldiers sent as part of the “surge” have now been withdrawn and Washington plans to carry on winding down combat operations during 2013.

The BBC said that leaders of nations contributing forces in Afghanistan have been talking about withdrawal for some time. Both France and Canada ended their combat missions early, although they have yet to bring all their troops home.

Britain, the second largest contributor to Nato’s Afghanistan operation, has about 9,000 troops in Afghanistan, and 4,000 more will be brought home by summer 2013, with the remainder leaving by the end of 2014.

Australia has said most of its troops most will be home by the end of 2013. Other contributing countries include Germany, Italy, Australia, Poland and Turkey. (Courtesy: DM Online)