NATo has started withdrawing its mission from Afghanistan, an alliance official said on Thursday.
The move comes following a decision by President Joe Biden to pull all American troops from the country starting on May 1.
NATO’s training and support mission in Afghanistan includes some 2,500 US troops and relies heavily on Washington’s military assets, has personnel from 36 alliance member nations and partner countries.
As being reported, members of the US-backed alliance have agreed this month to wrap up their 9,600-strong mission in Afghanistan after President Biden made the call to end Washington’s longest war.
Nato’s chief Jens Stoltenberg had announced the troops’ withdrawal earlier this month, agreeing to withdraw nearly 7,000 non-American forces from Afghanistan.
“Nato Allies decided in mid-April to start the withdrawal of Resolute Support Mission forces by May 1 and this withdrawal has begun. This will be an orderly, coordinated, and deliberate process,” a Nato official told AFP.
The NATO official added that the safety of the alliance’s troops “will be a top priority every step of the way, and we are taking all necessary measures to keep our personnel from harm.”
“Any Taliban attacks during the withdrawal will be met with a forceful response. We plan to have our withdrawal completed within a few months,” the official said, refusing to give any further details on the timeline.
While the US has said it is temporarily deploying extra troops to protect international forces as they withdraw and has prolonged the presence of an aircraft carrier in the region to support the pull-out.
Earlier this month, President Biden announced that the US withdrawal would be completed by September 11, the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America that sparked its military involvement in Afghanistan.
Joining in the decision, Germany’s Defence Ministry has said it plans to get its 1,300 troops out of the country by early July.