From the Telegraph today: Following the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the Prime Minister is increasingly determined to start bringing the Afghan mission to an end. He has told defence chiefs he wants to start the withdrawal this summer, as the US begins to reduce its troop numbers. But British commanders have warned David Cameron that an early exit could jeopardise the counter-insurgency mission, allowing the Taliban to regain territory and popular support. As a compromise, defence chiefs have reluctantly drawn up plans to withdraw 450 of Britain's 10,000 troops from Afghanistan. Mr Cameron wants to agree their withdrawal with Barack Obama when he visits London later this month. The British troops could leave Afghanistan as soon as July, when the American withdrawal begins. But Whitehall sources said that defence chiefs, led by Gen Sir David Richards, the Chief of the Defence Staff, are still resisting Mr Cameron's calls to reduce the size of the current deployment. The chiefs are said to have told the Prime Minister that the "force density" of troops in central Helmand should not be reduced. The objections are expected to mean that no combat troops are withdrawn this year. Instead, talks in Whitehall are focusing on identifying "fat that can be trimmed" from the British deployment, such as cooks and administrative clerks who could leave this year without affecting the central mission. Those withdrawn are expected mostly to be non-combat personnel assigned to support roles at Camp Bastion, the main British base in Helmand. Personnel from the RAF Regiment based at the camp could also leave. It is understood that the Ministry of Defence had hoped to keep the summer troop withdrawal down to around 200. But Mr Cameron and his officials put pressure on defence chiefs to go further. One senior Whitehall official said: "There is a very active conversation going on. On the one side there is the military concern about force density and continuing the mission, and on the other side is the PM's political imperative for some sort of announcement on draw-down." Mr Cameron has already said that Britain's combat mission in Afghanistan must end by 2014, in time for the next general election. A government source said that the killing of bin Laden had increased Mr Cameron's "sense of urgency" about ending the Afghan mission. "The bottom line is he wants out, and soon. And at the end of the day, he's the Prime Minister, so he'll get what he wants," said the source. "The worry is he's being driven by politics not strategy." British troops have been fighting in Afghanistan since 2001 and 364 have died. Western commanders say they are just starting to make progress against the Taliban. Signalling doubts about an early exit, Gen Richards yesterday told the Commons defence committee that the operation should be given more time before decisions are taken on a withdrawal. He said: "At my level, we are very clear that the strategy is sound and we must give it the opportunity to succeed." In evidence to the committee, the heads of all three Armed Services admitted that their forces were "stretched" and "running hot" fighting wars in Afghanistan and Libya. An MoD spokesman said: President Karzai announced in March that the first phase of security transition in Afghanistan has started. This begins the process of a gradual transition which will be completed across the country by the end of 2014. "As the Prime Minister, Defence Secretary, and Chief of Defence Staff have said, troop reductions maybe possible in 2011 but no decisions have yet been taken. UK forces will no longer be in a combat role or in the present numbers in Afghanistan by 2015. Trim the fat? Of course - we'll leave the PBI out there doing their own admin, cooking etc etc. Nothing like a planned transition, and this is nothing like a plan.