Britain backs military departure from Afghanistan

Nato confirms withdrawal of troops will start in May

British soldiers walk with their gear after arriving in Kandahar on October 27, 2014, as British and US forces withdraw from the Camp Bastion-Leatherneck complex in Helmand province. British forces October 26 handed over formal control of their last base in Afghanistan to Afghan forces, ending combat operations in the country after 13 years which cost hundreds of lives. The Union Jack was lowered at Camp Bastion in the southern province of Helmand, while the Stars and Stripes came down at the adjacent Camp Leatherneck -- the last US Marine base in the country. AFP PHOTO/WAKIL KOHSAR (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP)
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The UK offered its support to an orderly departure of troops from Afghanistan after Nato and the US said they would withdraw forces from the country.

“The UK stands with Nato and the people of Afghanistan to support a more stable, peaceful future for the country, and the wider region,” UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

“We will support an orderly departure of our forces, while building up Afghanistan’s capacity for self-governance, and continuing counter-terrorism support – to protect the gains made over the last 20 years.”

Britain has about 750 soldiers in Afghanistan.

US President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that America’s remaining 2,500 troops would leave Afghanistan by September 11, 2021 – 20 years after the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks on US soil.

Nato, which has about 7,000 soldiers in Afghanistan not including American forces, said it would begin its drawdown from May 1, in line with the US.

Biden announces withdrawal of US troops in Afghanistan

Biden announces withdrawal of US troops in Afghanistan

A joint statement by foreign and defence ministers of Nato countries released on Wednesday night said that in "recognising that there is no military solution to the challenges Afghanistan faces, allies have determined that we will start the withdrawal of Resolute Support mission forces by May 1".

Resolute Support is a non-combat mission to train and advise Afghan security forces.

“This drawdown will be orderly, co-ordinated and deliberate.”

The statement said that Nato and its partners would “continue to stand with Afghanistan, its people, and its institutions in promoting security and upholding the gains of the last 20 years".

“Withdrawing our troops does not mean ending our relationship with Afghanistan. Rather, this will be the start of a new chapter.”