Bulgaria Mulls Withdrawal of Troops from Afghanistan

Defense | July 28, 2011, Thursday // 18:08|  views

A total of 600 Bulgarian soldiers and medical staff are currently stationed in Afghanistan in Kabul and Kandahar. Photo by BGNES

An expert group of the Bulgarian Defense and Foreign Affairs Ministries is working on a strategy for the withdrawal of the country's rangers from Afghanistan.

The news was announced Thursday by Defense Minister, Anyu Angelov, who spoke during a discussion on international security, held in Sofia, explaining for the time being Bulgaria has the foundations of such strategy, based on realistic assessment of the military and political situation in Afghanistan, and the allies operations there.

The strategy will be submitted for approval in the cabinet at the end of October – beginning of November with three separate versions, proposed by the Defense Ministry experts. The withdrawal will be done in stages with Angelov declining to offer further details.

"We will not be the first ones or the last ones to leave. We do not participate in direct military actions and are not involved in transferring the responsibilities to the Afghan forces," the Minister said.

Angelov stressed on the need of an increase on NATO's part of the joint financing of the Alliance's operations along with the need of joint EU funds in order to have real common defense and security policy.

James Logan Jones, former United States National Security Advisor and a retired United States Marine Corps General, was also present at the conference, speaking of contemporary security challenges across the globe, and energy security.

In November 2010, NATO adopted a withdrawal strategy from Afghanistan which provides for a staged transfer of security tasks to the local army and police by 2014.

The last Bulgarian mission in Afghanistan began on July 14 when a company of 165 rangers, including 13 women, was sent to Kabul to take part in the NATO ISAF mission.

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Tags: Defense Minister, Anyu Angelov, NATO, ISAF, mission, Afghanistan, James Jones, security


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