Bulgarian Defence Minister: If US withdraws from Afghanistan, we have no business there

Bulgarian Defence Minister: If US withdraws from Afghanistan, we have no business there

Nato should at its next ministerial meeting consider its format for Afghanistan, Bulgarian Defence Minister Krassimir Karakachanov said on January 3, responding to reports in December that US President Donald Trump is to withdraw half of the 14 000 military personnel in that country.

The Voice of America reported on January 2 that Trump criticized US generals for not defeating the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan after 19 years of involvement. Speaking to reporters at a Cabinet meeting that day, Trump said the generals were given “all the money they wanted” and “didn’t do such a great job in Afghanistan”.

Karakachanov said: “As you can see, Donald Trump takes decisions that match his understanding of foreign policy. He also announced the withdrawal of his contingent from Syria. How will it reflect on NATO – I personally think that Bulgaria has done enough”.

The Bulgarian Defence Minister, also one of the deputy prime ministers in Boiko Borissov’s governing coalition, was speaking at a ceremony to formally welcome home a Bulgarian military contingent that was participating in a Nato mission in Afghanistan.

The Bulgarian contingent, the 36th deployed in Afghanistan, was the first that was more than 158 people.

“This contingent was 160 people. Bulgaria does not need to increase its presence any further,” Karakachanov said.

Asked if Bulgaria should withdraw, he said: “If the policy of the United States, as a Nato ally, is to withdraw its contingent, I personally do not think that Bulgaria has further business there.”

The Bulgarian participation in Afghanistan includes guard duty at the airport in the southern city of Kandahar and instruction for local security forces./IBNA