7 May 2021 21:23

Azerbaijan plans to withdraw peacekeepers from Afghanistan - Defense Ministry

BAKU. May 7 (Interfax) - Azerbaijan plans to withdraw its peacekeepers acting as part of NATO's Resolute Support Mission from Afghanistan, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry told Interfax.

"We're planning to withdraw our peacekeepers from Afghanistan," the Defense Ministry said.

The ministry did not specify the exact dates for the planned troop withdrawal from the country.

The Azerbaijani Armed Forces joined the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan on November 20, 2002. At present, the mission includes 120 Azerbaijani military personnel, among them two military doctors and six staff officers.

CNN reported, citing informed sources, on May 3 that the withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan was "formally underway."

"Fewer than 100 troops, along with military equipment, have been moved largely by aircraft," CNN said.

White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters later, "A drawdown is underway."

There are about 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan that are "openly acknowledged" and "several hundred additional special operations forces," and all of them are to leave the country on President Joe Biden's orders, CNN said.

The Biden administration announced earlier that it planned to start troop withdrawal from Afghanistan before May 1 and complete the process by September 11.

The NATO forces deployed in Afghanistan number over 5,000 troops.