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David Cameron has dismissed fears that Afghanistan could revert to a terrorist haven as he paid a pre-Christmas visit to troops in the country.
Combat operations are due to end completely by 2014.
Critics have warned that Western forces are cutting and running from their 11-year engagement in Afghanistan, potentially opening the door to a "Taliban resurgence".
But during his traditional seasonal visit, Mr Cameron said he believes Afghan security forces are getting the "capability" to control the country.
"The fact is they are doing better than expected," he said. "This is withdrawal. This is draw-down based on success, not on failure."
Speaking in Helmand Province today, David Cameron told ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen that he was "delighted" that British troops were withdrawing from the region.
"We came to Afghanistan to help this country stop being a haven of terror but we've always wanted this country to be able to police itself, with its own army and its own police force," he said.
"We're successfully training them up so we're able to bring our troops back home, and I'm delighted that the 9,000 troops we have here still in Afghanistan will be coming home."
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It was the most extraordinary carol service: marines and soldiers and the Prime Minister singing along at Camp Price, Helmand.