Danish forces ended their final Afghan deployment in support of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in a ceremony at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, earlier this week. “In 2001 a strong coalition made a commitment to eliminate a significant threat to international security emanating from this country, Afghanistan,” the commander of Denmark’s Afghanistan contingent, Col. Michael Thogersen, said in a May 20 alliance release. Danish forces ended their combat mission and switched to advising and training Afghan security forces last summer. “Denmark is one of the countries that have carried the toughest load in Afghanistan, and Danish soldiers have been on the front line since 2002,” Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said announcing the drawdown last year, the Copenhagen Post reported. Danish forces deployed some 18,000 troops on 17 rotations—many of those to hotspots like Helmand, resulting in 33 Danish soldiers killed in action since 2001.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.