Bulgaria Welcomes Back 176 Rangers from AfghanistanDefense | March 17, 2013, Sunday // 19:00| views
Bulgaria's military presence in Afghanistan initially consisted of 530 rangers, and was later boosted to 600. Photo by BGNES
Bulgaria's caretaker Defense Minister, Todor Tagarev, officially welcomed back home Sunday 176 rangers from the country's NATO-led ISAF forces in Afghanistan.
"These boys and girls deserve our respect and the respect of all Bulgarian people. We must give very high marks for their work and everything they do for the country's security. I give them the highest grade. All Bulgarian military people, taking part in missions and operations abroad, gain very valuable experience. They are the future army elite of Bulgaria," Tagarev said.
He assured the schedule for transforming the Bulgarian mission in Afghanistan was strictly adhered to, adding the new contingents for rotation are being prepared before the conclusion of the mission.
"We are helping the people of Afghanistan guarantee their security after 2014," the Minister pointed out.
Bulgaria's former government adopted in mid-January a long anticipated decision to terminate partly the Bulgarian military mission in the NATO-led ISAF forces in Afghanistan.
The decision came in accordance with strategy for transformation of Bulgaria's participation in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, which was approved by the government at the end of 2011, following a decision by the USA under President Barack Obama's plan for a major withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2014.
Bulgaria's military presence in Afghanistan initially consisted of 530 rangers, and was later boosted to 600.
By the end of 2014 Bulgaria will continue to maintain its security company guarding the interior zone at the Kandahar Airport as well its teams of advisers to the local security forces.
After 2014, Bulgaria will continue its participation in NATO's mission in Afghanistan only with teams of advisers stationed on the ground with the Afghan security forces and the local authorities.