Most European troops leave Afghanistan quietly after 20 years

Berlin — Most European troops have already withdrawn from Afghanistan and quietly withdrew months before the official end of US-led missions. This is part of an anti-climate near an “eternal war” that risks a civil war.

Germany and Italy declared their mission in Afghanistan on Wednesday, and Poland’s last army returned home, bringing their deployment to a modest end almost 20 years after the first Western soldiers were deployed there. ..

Announcements from several countries analyzed by the Associated Press show that the majority of European troops now have few ceremonies left-to help NATO allies invade the United States to drive the country away. Al Qaeda’s attack after the September 11, 2001 attacks, in stark contrast to the dramatic public power and unity show when lined up.

Over time, NATO and the US military have played a major role in the development of Afghanistan’s national security and defense forces and police training. At the peak of the war, the number of US and NATO troops exceeded 150,000.

In April, NATO agreed to withdraw about 7,000 non-US troops from Afghanistan from May 1.

NATO refused to provide up-to-date information on the number of countries that still have troops on solid support missions on Wednesday. However, an analysis of 19 governments’ own announcements shows that more than 4,800 non-US troops have left.

The United States refused to give troop figures, but when President Joe Biden announced his final withdrawal, 2,500 to 3,500 troops were deployed. The United States also refused to give a clear date for their final withdrawal.

As of February, a total of approximately 832,000 US troops served in Afghanistan. About 25,100 Pentagon civilians also served there.

Germany publicly announced the end of its nearly 20-year deployment in a statement and a series of tweets from the Defense Minister shortly after the last plane carrying troops left Afghanistan’s airspace late Tuesday evening.

Three transport planes landed at Wunstorf Air Force Base in northern Germany on Wednesday afternoon. The troops wore masks and lined up on the tarmac for a short ceremony, but the army exempted the larger reception due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have worked long and hard to stand here today,” Brig said. General Ansgar Meyer, the last commander of the German army. “As your commander, I can say for you:” The mission has been accomplished. “You have accomplished your job. “

Germany’s withdrawal took place in a series of European withdrawals. Poland’s last departure army was greeted Wednesday by Defense Minister Murrue Ramius Bwashchak. Over the last two decades, approximately 33,000 Polish troops have served in Afghanistan.

The last Italian troops from an Italian base in Herat arrived at the military airport in Pisa late Tuesday. Italy officially declared its mission in Afghanistan in a statement Wednesday, and Defense Minister Lorenzo Gerini paid tribute to 53 Italians who died and 723 injured in the last two decades.

Going forward, Italy’s commitment to Afghanistan remains strong, but in other ways it “starts with increased development cooperation and support for Afghanistan institutions,” Gerini said.

Georgia’s last army returned on Monday, Romania returned the remaining 140 troops on Saturday, and Norway withdrew. Armies from Denmark, Estonia and the Netherlands also returned last week. Spain withdrew its last army on May 13, Sweden withdrew on May 25, and Belgium withdrew on June 14. All the small troops deployed by Portugal, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Finland, Albania, North Macedonia and Luxembourg have also left.

Withdrawal is nearing its end as Afghanistan’s security deteriorates. Since May 1, when the withdrawal began, the Taliban have overtaken districts one after another, including major ones along major transportation routes. Many were convinced that Afghan soldiers collapsed after surrendering and often left their posts by elders. However, there were fierce military battles elsewhere, and Afghan troops could be defeated when they were unable to resupply their position.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s U.S. military commander, General Austin S. Miller, has been deployed to support poor national security forces, but is concerned about the resurrection of militias who have a brutal reputation for widespread killings. Was expressed.

“Civil war is certainly a path that can be visualized if it continues in its current orbit, which is of concern to the world,” he said.

At a ceremony to commemorate the official end of the Dutch expansion last week, Dutch Defense Minister Ankh Byleberd Schuten emphasized the uncertain outlook.

“We also see reports of the rise of the Taliban and increased violence in the areas where we were stationed,” she said. “Many things have been achieved, but they have to be realistic. The results are not irreversible.”

By Geir Moulson and Kathy Gannon

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