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Bulgaria plans to withdraw this year most of its 600 troops serving with the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force fighting Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.
The troops will be pulled out in three stages that started with medical teams from the Herat hospital on Dec. 31, the government said today in a statement from Sofia. A combat unit guarding Kabul airport will leave March 1 and troops guarding Kandahar airport will move out next year.
Some Bulgarian soldiers will remain into the second half of 2014 to train Afghan forces, the government said.
Western forces plan to transfer security to Afghan forces in all the country’s provinces by 2014, a target date set by NATO in 2010. Bulgaria joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 2004 and has peacekeeping troops in Bosnia and Kosovo.
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