Denmark to begin pulling troops from Afghanistan
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Last Updated: Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 14:18
Copenhagen: Denmark's political parties backed a government plan to gradually pull out Danish troops from Afghanistan starting this summer through the end of 2014 and hand over responsibility to Afghan forces.

Most political parties, except far-left groups, backed the plan yesterday which will withdraw 30 soldiers this summer from its 750-strong contingent in Helmand province and reduce to 650 soldiers by late 2012, according to an copy of the agreement.

Denmark will hand over its military bases in the dangerous Patrol Base Line located in the "green zone" in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan to local security forces around August, it said.

"Our goal is to make Afghanistan assume responsibility of its own security towards the end of 2014," Foreign Minister Lene Espersen told journalists following a meeting with the political parties.

The widely anticipated plan was in line with the Scandinavian country's exit strategy put forward last year that will see troops leave the war-torn country before 2015.

But Denmark will increase investments in training Afghan police forces, and boost development aid by some 100 million Danish krona (13 million euros, USD 18 million) by 2013, bringing annual aid to 500 million krona per year.

Danish troops suffered the heaviest losses proportionally among participating nations of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan, with 40 deaths.


First Published: Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 14:18

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