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Camp Lejeune General: Afghanistan Forces To Be Cut In Half In 2012

As U.S. Forces prepare to leave Iraq by the end of this year, the draw down in Afghanistan is also underway. Tuesday, Major General John Toolan of Camp Lejeune, the commanding general of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force in Afghanistan, talked about the role of the marines in Afghanistan moving forward.

"Over the past year and a half we've sort of established a pretty secure foothold," said Major General Toolan Tuesday.

With that security, Major General John Toolan told the UK's daily telegraph the 20,000 marines in Helmand Province, Afghanistan "is to be cut in half" and "could be cut to almost a quarter" by next September.

"Now as we face withdrawal. Now as we face a presidential mandate to start sending people home, we're in a position for at least another 8 months to continue to keep the pressure on these insurgents because they're running. They're on their heels. They're on their back. They're not functioning anywhere near they were in the early years," said Major Gen. Toolan.

Toolan says right now they're trying to finalize security in the region and push all Afghan security forces into the lead.

"We're still here in enough strength and numbers that if they have challenges or problems we're right there and could back em up."

Toolan says its time for U.S. Forces to move from a counter- insurgency mission to an advisor and training mission as the people and forces of Afghanistan take control of their country.

Major General Toolan says the U.S. Should be proud of what our forces have been able to accomplish in Afghanistan, driving out the Taliban and providing a better future for the country and it's people.


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