Australian troops to pull out of Afghanistan a year early

Two special forces soldiers embrace as the C-130 carrying Sergeant Brett Wood,who was killed in action, departs Tarin Kot Airfield, Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Uruzgan, Afghanistan. 32 Australian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001.

Australia's government has announced that it will start pulling its troops out of Afghanistan a year ahead of schedule.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the pull-out will begin in the middle of 2013, with the majority of troops expected to have left by 2014.

The announcement was to be confirmed by the country's Prime Minister Julia Gillard in a speech to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in the capital Canberra on Tuesday, the report said.

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Its expected that Gillard will outline a more precise timetable for withdrawal at the NATO summit in Chicago next month, the Sydney Morning Herald says.

''The peoples of the world's democracies are weary of this war," her speech notes are reported as saying, and: ''We will have completed our training and mentoring with the [Afghan] 4th Brigade. We will no longer be conducting routine frontline operations with the Afghan National Security Forces."

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The West Australian explains that Australia's troops are concentrated in the volatile southern province of  Uruzgan, where it has around 1,500 soldiers.

It claims that Gillard will "hint" at funding the Afghan army and national police beyond their withdrawal.

The Adelaide Advertiser says that Australia has been in Afghanistan since 2001, with just one brief absence, and that 32 of its soldiers have been killed and 219 wounded during that time.

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