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Germany

Britain to Cut Forces Stationed in Germany

Britain will reduce its total armed forces in Germany by 2,200 troops by 2009 as part of a "rebalancing" following the end of the Cold War, Defense Secretary John Reid said on Monday.

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British armoured vehicles will board planes out of Germany with no intention of returning

Though 4,400 troops will return to England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the armed forces will deploy another 2,200 military personnel in support of two armored brigades, for a net reduction of 2,200 troops, Reid said.

"With the continued agreement of the German government, the UK expects to maintain the remaining 21,800 personnel," Reid said.

The moves follow plans first announced in December 2004 as part of the "rebalancing" of the armed forces after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

"Operational experience and our assessment of future threats have shown us that we need to rebalance the army to ensure it is structured and equipped to conduct the full range of tasks we ask of it," Reid said in a statement.

Britain announced last week that it was deploying an additional 4,600 troops to Afghanistan as part of a three-year NATO expansion there aimed at bolstering stability and economic development.

The Afghanistan deployment will not trigger a reduction of the 8,500 British troops stationed in and around southern Iraq, Reid said.

Cuts in number of US troops

US Soldaten in Deutschland gelbe Bänder Flagge

Houses at the US army base in Baumholder, southern Germany

In the past year, Germany has also seen a reduction in the number of US troops stationed at bases around the country, also due to a general structural shift in the US army to better fight terrorism.

Dozens of American units based in Germany are due to be inactivated, or moved this year, in changes that will affect roughly 7,200 military positions, US Army Europe officials announced last week.

The US Army currently has around 62,000 troops stationed throughout Europe, and plans to reduce that number to around 24, 000 over the next five years.

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