Bulgaria’s NATO Afghanistan Forces Down to 160 by 2015

Bulgaria’s government will withdraw most of the country’s rangers in the NATO security mission in Afghanistan with only 160 of them remaining there by the end of 2014, Defense Minister, Anyu Angelov, has confirmed.

A total of 600 Bulgarian soldiers and medical staff are currently stationed in Afghanistan in Kabul and Kandahar.

The Minister further stated during the Friday Parliamentary control that while the final outcome still remained unclear, there was a political decision regarding NATO aircraft flying over Bulgaria to assist in the conflict on the border between Syria and Turkey.

On the subject of Bulgaria purchasing a new fighter jet, Angelov explained it would all depend on the funding that would be available, but it would not happen in 2013. He added negotiations on the purchase were pending.

“I believe that a decision for an investment project under the Defense Act would be made by the end of the term of this Parliament,” said he.

Angelov informed Bulgaria will continue to use US expert help in the utilization and detonation of old munitions.

He firmly rejected reports that servicemen were quitting the army in mass before the new retirement rules for the military become effective in 2013.

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