LISBON, April 15 (Xinhua) -- Portugal announced on Thursday its intention to withdraw its troops deployed in Afghanistan under the command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as of May 1.
"With this withdrawal, an important and prolonged Portuguese contribution to the fight against terrorism will be concluded," which had lasted 19 years and mobilized 4,500 military personnel, said the Portuguese Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense in a joint statement.
According to the Portuguese government, "there has been important progress in Afghanistan in terms of stability and security, as well as in terms of social development, including in particular women's rights and access to education."
Portugal explained that the withdrawal of its 174 military personnel will be carried out jointly with NATO allies, mirroring the United States' plans to start removing troops after two decades of war.
"Portugal maintains its commitment to the efforts of the international community to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations," the statement said.
NATO sent troops to Afghanistan in 2001 after the attacks carried out by Al-Qaeda on Sept. 11 of that year in the United States.