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British Prime Minister David Cameron said Afghan security forces were "doing better than expected," as he defended plans for the British force to be cut to 5,200 next year, according to his office.

Cameron on was paying a pre-Christmas visit Thursday to British troops in Afghanistan.

The premier, who was touring Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, said he was confident that the draw-down of nearly half of the British troops, announced in parliament on Wednesday, would not pave the way for an increase in terrorist activity.

"The fact is they [Afghan security forces] are doing better than expected," he said."This is withdrawal. This is draw-down based on success, not on failure."

He added that the decision was taken "for good military reasons" and it has been done in a proper way.

"We're confident it can be done while making sure Afghanistan does not return to become a haven of terrorism which is, of course, why we came here in the first place," stressed the prime minister.

With 9,500 troops, Britain has the second largest number of troops in Afghanistan, after the United States. It has lost 438 soldiers in Afghanistan since 2001. Most UK troops are based in the southern Helmand province.

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