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Britain: Afghan winter to bring changes

Published By United Press International
LONDON, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The British government expects security operations in Afghanistan to change over the winter months as the fighting season ends, an official said.

The British government filed a regular update on security operations in Afghanistan. As of October, the British Ministry of Defense said there are 9,500 British troops there in support of international efforts. Most of the forces are deployed in southern Afghanistan.

In the update, the government said its training efforts were delivering real results as Afghan forces move increasingly to take a leadership role. In September, British Development Secretary Justine Greening said Afghan forces should be in the lead "across the country" by the middle of next year.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said, in a statement, that British forces in Afghanistan "can expect the character of operations to change" as winter approaches and the fighting season ends.

A string of so-called green-on-blue attacks this year brought the training of Afghan forces to the top of the list of concerns for war planners. Greening had said the insider threat remained a concern, through British forces were constantly refining mission requirements to ensure their safety.

A U.S. Defense Department report this week said insurgent attacks in Afghanistan were up marginally. The report suggested low-level insurgents were fighting more because of a shortened poppy harvest.
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Tour de France concludes in Paris
Race winner Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain (C) stands between second place finisher Christopher Froome of Great Britain (L) and third place finisher Vincenzo Nibali of Italy on the presentation podium following the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris on July 22, 2012. Wiggins of Great Britain became that country's first ever overall winner of the Tour de France. UPI/David Silpa