Sweden completes full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan
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Sweden completes full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

28 May 2021 (Last Updated May 28th, 2021 16:45)

Non-Nato country Sweden has finally concluded its 20-year-long operation in Afghanistan.

The last of Swedish military forces have safely returned from Afghanistan, marking an end to the country’s contribution to the Nato-led operations.

Troops of FS 40 unit landed at Sweden’s Jönköping airport on 25 May and were then transferred to their home regiment, Göta Engineers. The unit will be disarmed soon.

Sweden has been contributing its soldiers to Nato-led operations in Afghanistan since the end of 2001.

Since then, Swedish personnel have trained, mentored, cooperated and supported Afghan security forces to improve security in the country.

Sweden’s contribution in Afghanistan included an advisory team, personnel to multinational forces, medical staff, air cargo soldiers and a support unit.

Initially, its mission centred on the region around Kabul. Later, it joined a UK-led group in Mazar-e-Sharif.

It then supported Nato’s Resolute Support Mission that commenced at the end of 2014.

Swedish Army Chief of Joint Operations lieutenant general Michael Claesson said: “I welcome the FS 40 unit back home and thank them for their service, just as I thank all other Swedish troops that have served in Afghanistan, enabling a positive development to take place in the country.

“The operation in Afghanistan has been one of the most extensive international missions ever. And it has come at a high price. Five Swedish soldiers were killed in action and 24 were injured, some have suffered life-long injuries.”

The troop withdrawal comes after the US Government’s announcement last month about its decision to bring back all American troops from Afghanistan by 11 September this year.

Nato allies and Australia also shared their drawdown plans, which match the US timeframe.

Earlier this week, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) estimated to have completed a 16%-25% pullout from Afghanistan.