ZAGREB, February 15, 2020 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday that a decision to withdraw Croatian troops from Afghanistan can only be a result of agreement, within Croatia and on the international level.
“That operation is continuing. We’ve exchanged quite a large number of contingents there and shown responsibility. We are a member of NATO and the (European) Union. We participate in key security activities on a global level and there must be agreement on any such decision, not just within Croatia,” said Plenković, adding that other partners’ positions would be taken into account.
The Jutarnji List daily said on Friday that Croatia could begin withdrawing its troops from the mission in Afghanistan. Quoting a source at the Defence Ministry, the paper said that there was talk of the future of that operation at a meeting of NATO defence ministers held on Wednesday and Thursday, which was also attended by Croatia’s Defence Minister Damir Krstičević.
Discussed was the future of the operation in the context of US-sponsored peace negotiations which Afghan authorities are conducting with the Taliban in an effort to end the conflict.
According to Jutarnji List, the meeting “concluded that members of the mission, including Croatia, are inevitably heading toward reducing the number of their troops.”
“I spoke today with Deputy Prime Minister Krstičević who attended the NATO ministerial meeting and I asked him if that topic was discussed. There was no talk of that at all, so all in due time,” said Plenković when asked if Croatia was withdrawing from the mission.
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