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Minn. National Guard soldiers return home

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The final wave of the Minnesota National Guard 147th Human Resource Company returns home Sunday.

The Associated Press says 24 soldiers in charge of military postal operations in Afghanistan will be honored at a ceremony in Arden Hills. The company handled 100,000 pounds of incoming mail and 30,000 pounds of outgoing mail each day.

In early November, 18 members of the company serving in Kuwait returned. KARE 11 reported the soldiers were also helping with the troop drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The United States maintains approximately 66,000 troops in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama has not decided how large the military force will be in the country post-2014. NBC News says the residual force could be less than 10,000.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday that batting Al-Qaida remains a core U.S. mission for years to come.

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More than 2,500 Minnesota National Guard soldiers heading home

ABC 6 News reports members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division are set to return over the next three weeks. The Minnesota Red Bulls have spent the last year serving in Afghanistan and Kuwait.

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The troops, part of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, returned Friday after serving in Kuwait and Afghanistan. They're among 3,000 service members, the largest deployment since World War II, to make their way home this month.

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The Minnesota National Guard says the group partnered with Croatian soldiers to train, mentor and advise Afghan soldiers and provide supplies to local schools. They're expected to arrive home this weekend.