Soldiers of the Danish army stationed in Afghanistan will be coming home a year early, following a decision to withdrawn all units by August this year.
Limited numbers of small units will remain to help with training the Afghan police, or consult on special forces and tank deployment. As units start returning home from their ‘tour of duty’ they will not be replaced according to political spokesman Magnus Heunicke.
This follows a mutual arrangement with the British forces to phase out their involvement in this troubled Middle East conflict zone, ending all involvement by late 2014.
“Denmark and Britain have agreed that the next phase of reconstruction of the war-torn country begins now,” he said.
The decision to pull out early comes following a parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee meeting. Earlier in the year the government reached broad agreement on withdrawal plans for Afghanistan.
“The Danish soldiers in Afghanistan have made a difference under very difficult conditions. We are withdrawing the last battle troops in August”, he added.
In the original agreement, infantry units would be withdrawn in February 2014 and tanks by August. The war began following a US invasion in November 2001 and though the Taliban government was overthrown, the insurgency and resistance from Mujahedin has not entirely abated.
Since 2011, the United States and its NATO allies have been trying to draw down the number of troops committed. The US is also committed to completely withdrawing ground troops by 2014, facing unpopular support at home, but it is proving difficult.
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