Denmark plans to immediately begin a gradual withdrawal of its combat troops from Afghanistan, highlighting the significance of handing over security to Afghan forces.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen announced the pullout plan during his traditional New Year speech on Saturday, noting that the Danish contingent would instead focus on training the Afghan army, Xinhua reported.
“The gradual transition from combat to training and support will continue until 2014. In the same period, we will decrease the number of deployed combat troops. After 2014, the Danish contingent will be without combat troops,” said Rasmussen.
Last year, the premier said that Denmark would have withdrawn all troops from Afghanistan before 2015.
On Saturday, Rasmussen also stated that the Danish government was fully aware that the changes will not save Danish soldiers from possible risks in Afghanistan.
“A continued effort by the international force, with a continued significant Danish contribution, will provide reason to believe that we can transfer the responsibility to the Afghans themselves,” he said.
“That is what both we and the Afghans are longing for,” he noted.
There are currently 750 Danish troops stationed in Afghanistan and have been taking part in the bloody battles in the north of the country.
Nearly 40 Danish soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.