Bulgaria to Pull out Afghanistan Contingent by 2015Defense | June 13, 2012, Wednesday // 13:56| views
A total of 600 Bulgarian soldiers and medical staff are currently stationed in Afghanistan in Kabul and Kandahar. Photo by BGNES
The Bulgarian government is deciding Wednesday to end the participation of the country's rangers in the NATO security mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
The news about the final deadline was reported by the cabinet's press center.
The pull-out will happen in three stages.
The two medical teams from the hospital in Herat will be withdrawn in 2012. The contingent guarding the airport in Kabul will be pulled in 2013, while the one guarding the airport in Kandahar will come home by the end of 2014.
The Council of Ministers will also debate at its regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday the option to send teams of experts to train Afghani security forces.
The worst incident with Bulgarian soldiers in Afghanistan to date occurred in January 2010, when four Bulgarians were wounded in a Taliban rocket attack, with one of them subsequently losing his hand. The incident coincided with the visit to the base of then Bulgarian Defense Minister and now Foreign Affairs Minister, Nikolay Mladenov.
In 2010, Bulgaria increased its Afghanistan contingent as part of the ISAF/NATO forces to 600 troops; half are stationed at the Kandahar airport.