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  • Belgium Plans To Halve ISAF Contingent
    Posted by Nicholas Fiorenza 3:44 PM on Jun 27, 2011

    Belgium plans to reduce the ceiling on troops it has assigned to NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) by 50 percent by the end of this year, Belgian Defense Minister Pieter de Crem told national media yesterday. This ceiling of 626 will be halved, leaving around 300 of the 585 Belgian troops currently in Afghanistan.

    blog post photo
    Belgian Defense photo

    The 325 soldiers guarding Kabul International Airport will be withdrawn as their mission has achieved its objectives, according to De Crem, leaving 125 personnel and six F-16s in Kandahar, 90 members of operational mentoring and liaison teams and 30 in the German-led provincial reconstruction team in Kunduz, and 45 trainers, ISAF headquarters personnel and embassy guards in Kabul. The Belgian general staff had reportedly favored reducing the number of F-16s in Afghanistan because of the burden of operating four F-16s as part of NATO's Operation Unified Protector over Libya.

    At his press conference at the end of the 23-24 June EU summit in Brussels, French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke of France reducing its 4,000-strong contingent by hundreds by the end of the year.

    Tags: ar99, Belgium, Afghanistan

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