Australia and Nato allies have decided to draw down all their troops from the Resolute Support Mission (RSM) in Afghanistan.
The exit plan matches with the US timeframe. It will begin by 1 May and be completed within a few months, possibly by September 2021.
The RSM mission in Afghanistan was launched on 1 January 2015. It is aimed at providing further training, advice and assistance for the Afghan security forces and institutions.
The mission had approximately 10,000 troops from 36 Nato member states and partner countries as of August last year.
According to a joint press statement released by Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Australia Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne, over 39,000 Australian soldiers have served in Afghanistan since 2001.
The decision aligns with the Australian Government’s policy set out in the ‘2020 Defence Strategic Update’.
Morrison said: “Over the past two years, we have been reducing our military presence in Afghanistan from a high of over 1,500 personnel to around 80 personnel currently.
“In line with the United States and our other allies and partners, the last remaining Australian troops will depart Afghanistan by September 2021.”
Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said: “Our drawdown will be orderly, coordinated and deliberate. We plan to complete the drawdown of all our troops within a few months.
“Any Taliban attacks on our troops during this period will be met with a forceful response.”