The UK says most of its troops have left Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the news Thursday, saying the threat from al-Qaida had lessened.
“All British troops assigned to NATO’s mission in Afghanistan are now returning home,” he said, adding that “most of our personnel have already left.”
He appeared to sidestep questions about whether the troop withdrawal would leave Afghanistan open to another takeover by the Taliban.
“We must be realistic about our ability alone to influence the course of events. It will take combined efforts of many nations, including Afghanistan’s neighbors, to help the Afghan people to build their future,” Johnson said. “But the threat that brought us to Afghanistan in the first place has been greatly diminished by the valor and by the sacrifice of the armed forces of Britain and many other countries.”
Johnson reiterated that Britain will still be involved in trying to achieve peace in Afghanistan, albeit through diplomacy.
“We are not walking away. We are keeping our embassy in Kabul, and we will continue to work with our friends and allies, particularly our friends in Pakistan, to work towards a settlement,” Johnson said. Some 457 British service members lost their lives in Afghanistan during Britain’s nearly 20-year involvement. The withdrawal of the remaining troops was expected to be done “within a few months,” according to the British Defense Ministry.
The U.S. was expected to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan by Sept 11. Some Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.