Wednesday, March 7, 2012
A top U.S. general says Marines will lead the U.S. troop drawdown in Afghanistan this year, reducing their numbers in the key province of Helmand by about half by the end of September.
By the end of this year the Afghans are to have moved fully into the combat lead throughout Helmand. That's according to Marine Maj. Gen. John Toolan.
He spoke Wednesday to The Associated Press by telephone from his Helmand headquarters.
Helmand has seen some of the fiercest fighting over the past two years. It is transitioning to Afghan control faster than most other Taliban-contested areas of the country.
Toolan said the number of Marines in Helmand is likely to shrink by 8,000 to 10,000 from the current total of 17,500 by the end of September.