Italy is considering pulling its troops completely from Afghanistan within a year, a senior defence ministry source said. The move by Italy comes after the United States has decided to significantly reduce its military presence from Afghanistan and bring peace to the war-torn region.
The source told a group of journalists that Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta had demanded that military command should start initial planning for a full withdrawal of the Italian contingent in Afghanistan.
“The timeframe could be 12 months,” the source said. Italy has had a military presence in Afghanistan for more than 15 years and, according to the Defence Ministry, is committed at present to having 900 troops there as part of a NATO-led mission.
“I have only heard about this today … She hasn’t talked to me about it,” Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi said.
Trenta is a member of the 5-Star Movement, which has long questioned the value of Italy’s Afghan mission.
A source in the far-right League, which is 5-Star’s coalition partner, said Italy was committed to bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan.
U.S. officials told last month that U.S. President Donald Trump had issued verbal orders to plan for a withdrawal of about half of the 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. However, they said he could reverse course.
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