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Italy May Start Afghanistan Withdrawal in 2011, Repubblica Says

Italy may start withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan in the summer of 2011 as allied forces hand over control of some of the country’s provinces to local authorities, la Repubblica reported, citing an interview with Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s leaders will discuss at a meeting next month “the priority for the provinces that will return to national control,” Frattini told the Rome- based newspaper. “Italy is also thinking about the withdrawal of its troops, but this has to take place at the right time in total coordination with its allies,” Frattini said.

Four Italian soldiers were killed and one was seriously injured in Afghanistan when a bomb blew up their vehicle near Farah in western Afghanistan on Oct. 9. Italy has about 3,150 soldiers in NATO’s Afghanistan mission.

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