PRAGUE — The Czech government announced plans May 16 to begin withdrawing its troops from their NATO mission in Afghanistan, bringing the number down from 590 at the moment to 170 by the end of 2014.
“Next year our participation in the ISAF (International Security and Assistance Force) mission will not exceed 539 people,” Czech Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra said in Prague.
“In 2014, the number will not exceed 340. Toward the end of the year, it will be no more than 170 people,” he added.
The withdrawal plan must now be approved by both houses of parliament.
Most Czech troops work in reconstruction and are stationed in the eastern province of Logar.
The Czech Republic joined NATO in 2004 but first deployed troops to Afghanistan in 2002 and has lost five soldiers on the ground.
Afghan forces are gradually taking over control of security in the country, with the goal of being in the lead nationwide next year and enabling most of the 130,000 foreign troops to leave by the end of 2014.