Last Czech Soldiers Return Home From Allied Afghan Mission

Afghanistan czech troops

The last 12 Czech soldiers returned home from the allied Afghan mission along with military materiel on Sunday, the large An-124 Ruslan transport plane with them landing at the Pardubice airport, east Bohemia, the military announced today.

The participation in the Afghan mission was the longest foreign operation in the Czech military’s history.

Most European troops have already pulled out of Afghanistan, quietly withdrawing months before the U.S.-led mission was officially expected to end – part of an anticlimactic close to the “forever war” that risks leaving the country on the brink of civil war.

Germany and Italy declared their missions in Afghanistan over on Wednesday and Poland’s last troops returned home, bringing their deployments to a low-key end nearly 20 years after the first Western soldiers were deployed there.

Georgia´s last troops returned home on Monday, while Romania brought home its remaining 140 troops on Saturday when Norway also pulled out.

Troops from Denmark, Estonia and the Netherlands also returned home last week. Spain withdrew its last troops on May 13, Sweden on May 25, and Belgium on June 14. The small contingents deployed by Portugal, Slovenia, Finland, Albania, North Macedonia and Luxembourg have all left as well.

The pullout is nearing its end as security in Afghanistan worsens. Since May 1, when the withdrawal began, the Taliban have overrun district after district, including key ones along major transportation routes. Many have fallen after Afghan soldiers surrendered, often being convinced to leave their post by elders.

But elsewhere there have been bitter military battles, with Afghan troops sometimes losing when their positions could not be resupplied.

“We see reports of the rise of the Taliban, growing violence, also in areas where we were stationed,” she said. “A lot has been achieved but we must be realistic: The results are not irreversible.”

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