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US troops to still face Afghan combat in 2013

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May 20, 2012 04:56 PM EST | AP


CHICAGO — The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan says American troops will still be involved combat next year even as the U.S. officially shifts to a support role.

The U.S. and its NATO partners will move into a supporting role in 2013, with Afghan security forces taking the lead in fighting. But Gen. John Allen says that doesn't mean U.S. forces won't still see combat.

Allen says U.S. forces won't fully disengage from combat until the end of 2014, the date NATO has set for ending the war.

U.S. officials describe next year's shift to Afghan security lead as a "midway point" in the NATO drawdown. Officials say the Afghan forces will still be able to call on U.S. and other NATO troops to assist in their missions.