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Afghanistan War: New Zealand To Pull Troops Next Year

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In this Thursday, May 17, 2012 photo, Afghan National Army soldiers on patrol on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) | AP

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand says it will withdraw its small contingent of troops from Afghanistan a year earlier than planned.

Prime Minister John Key told reporters Tuesday that the 145 New Zealand troops stationed in Bamiyan province will come home in late 2013 rather than 2014. New Zealand has stationed troops in the war-torn country since 2003, with five dying there during that time.

Key says New Zealand made the decision in consultation with its coalition partners. He says the United States wants to see an orderly transition as NATO allies begin planning a withdrawal of all troops by the end of 2014.

New Zealand in March withdrew a small contingent of elite Special Air Service soldiers who had been mentoring Afghan forces after being deployed to Kabul in 2009.

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