Belgium begins troop withdrawal from AfghanistanAugust 6th, 2012 - 6:23 pm ICT by IANS
Brussels, Aug 6 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The first group of Belgian soldiers from a detachment providing security at the Kabul airport has been withdrawn from Afghanistan.
Twenty-four Belgian soldiers and 10 from Luxembourg, part of the mixed platoon stationed at the airport in Kabul since 2003, have returned home.
Belgian soldiers will completely end their mission at the airport by Sep 30, Belgian broadcaster RTBF reported.
It is expected that in September-November 2012, five Belgian platoons, a total of 230 personnel, will leave Afghanistan.
By the end of the year, Belgium’s troop presence in Afghanistan will be reduced to 360 people from 626.
Six Belgian military F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft will be deployed in Afghanistan until the end of 2014, when Afghanistan will take over full control of the country’s security.
Belgian Defence Minister Pieter De Crem said the country’s soldiers would maintain a presence in Afghanistan for three more years after 2014 in order to help Afghanistan create a national army.
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Tags: afghanistan, belgian soldiers, belgium, broadcaster, brussels, crem, defence minister, detachment, dg, f 16 fighting falcon, kabul airport, national army, platoon, platoons, ria novosti, troop presence, troop withdrawal