“NATO allies decided in mid-April to begin withdrawing the Deployed Support Mission forces by May 1, and that withdrawal has begun,” a NATO official told AA on condition of anonymity.
The official underlined that the withdrawal would be “a regular, coordinated and deliberate process” as agreed by the allies.
“We plan to complete our withdrawal within a few months,” he added.
The official declined to give any details about troop numbers and timelines for countries individually during the withdrawal process.
“The safety of our troops will be a top priority at every step of the way and we are taking all necessary measures to protect our personnel from injury,” he said.
“Any Taliban attack during the withdrawal will face strong responses,” he added.
US President Joe Biden announced earlier this month that the US will withdraw all its forces by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks that sparked the US military operation.
The deployment of foreign troops began in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, when the United States and the United Kingdom launched Operation Enduring Freedom. They were joined by about 43 NATO allies and partners after the UN authorized the International Security Assistance Force on December 20, 2001.
There are currently a total of 9,592 troops from 36 countries deployed in Afghanistan. The US tops the list with 2,500 soldiers.
The administration of former US President Donald Trump had agreed to withdraw all US forces by May after reaching a peace deal with the Taliban under which the group would stop attacks on international troops and commit to peace negotiations with the Afghan government.
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