Sunset behind Gardez mountains in Afghanistan 150618 CREDIT NATO
Afghanistan

Afghanistan: NATO Withdrawal To Begin In May

UK personnel will "drawdown" from the country, with the Defence Secretary saying the military will have "lasting memories" of Afghanistan.

Sunset behind Gardez mountains in Afghanistan 150618 CREDIT NATO

NATO will begin removing military personnel from Afghanistan on 1 May, aiming to complete its withdrawal "within a few months".

British servicemen and women will "drawdown" in the country, with the Defence Secretary Ben Wallace saying the Armed Forces will have "lasting memories" of Afghanistan.

The UK will liaise further with NATO allies about the future of their deployment in the country.

Coalition troops, including British personnel, have had a presence in the country since 2001, with about 750 UK troops currently in Afghanistan in a training capacity.

The United States is aiming to complete its withdrawal by 11 September – the 20th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks on American soil.

The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, confirmed the alliance's plans during a press conference.

In a February 2020 agreement with the administration of then-president Donald Trump, the Taliban agreed to halt attacks and hold peace talks with the Afghan government, in exchange for a US commitment to a complete withdrawal by May 2021.

The deal included NATO forces deployed to the country, with 1 May having now become the start date for the alliance drawback.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "The people of Afghanistan deserve a peaceful and stable future.

"As we drawdown, the security of our people currently serving in Afghanistan remains our priority and we have been clear that attacks on Allied troops will be met with a forceful response.  

"The British public and our Armed Forces community, both serving and veterans, will have lasting memories of our time in Afghanistan.

"Most importantly we must remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, who will never be forgotten."

Cover image: NATO.