Azerbaijan to withdraw peacekeepers from Afghanistan - EXCLUSIVE

Azerbaijan to withdraw peacekeepers from Afghanistan - <span style="color: red;">EXCLUSIVE
# 31 January 2013 10:23 (UTC +04:00)

Government sources told APA that higher echelons have already held discussions on it and it was not considered expedient to keep Azerbaijani servicemen in Afghanistan after NATO forces are withdrawn.

Member of the Azerbaijani parliament’s security and defense committee Zahid Oruj told APA that the issue was discussed, along with the NATO and US troops, Azerbaijani servicemen will also be withdrawn from Afghanistan.

“The parliament will get a relevant proposal and approve it. There were reports that after NATO ends its mission, Turkey will assume the major mission in Afghanistan and Azerbaijani peacekeepers will remain in Afghanistan. But the situation has changed. As the regional and international situation on Afghanistan has changed, Azerbaijan will also withdraw its peacekeepers. The situation will be controlled by the local military and police forces of Afghanistan,” he said.

The MP said Azerbaijan will immediately withdraw its peacekeepers from Afghanistan, after the withdrawal of the US contingent of 140 000 soldiers, it is unambiguous: “No one should expect that we will pass a different decision, Azerbaijan will withdraw from Afghanistan, following NATO.”

On November 20, 2002, the peacekeeping contingent of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces of 22 persons started to serve under the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The number of the contingent was increased in 2008 and reached the level of detachment. The Azerbaijani Parliament passed a decision in October, 2009 to double the number of peacekeepers in Afghanistan to 90 people. The Azerbaijani servicemen are serving under the Turkish contingent in ISAF operation. Detachment personnel is protecting the TV tower in Kabul, ISAF central munitions storage and carrying out patrol service.