Czech gov't to send more troops to Afghanistan in 2009 2008-10-02 00:49:48   Print

    PRAGUE, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Czech government approved the deployment of more troops in foreign missions next year, under which the Czech military will send more troops to Afghanistan, the Czech news agency CTK said on Wednesday.

    While some 900 Czech soldiers are deployed abroad this year, it is to be at least 1,386 in 2009 under the new plan, according to CTK.

    In total, up to 745 Czech troops are to be deployed in Afghanistan in 2009, while it is up to 415 this year, CTK said.

    Late next year, the Czech Republic wants to send three Mi-171S helicopters, accompanied by up to 120 troops, it added.

    More soldiers are to be sent especially to the Czech Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in the Logar province of southern Afghanistan, CTK said, adding that the now 200-strong PRT is to add up to 330 members next year.

    Some 45 soldiers are to work at an airport in the Kandahar province, operating an Arthur hunting radar.

    From May to August 2009, the Czech military plans to guard the air space of the Baltic states. Some 75 troops are to fulfill the task.

    In Iraq, on the other hand, only five instead of the current 20military instructors are to train Iraqi armed forces in Baghdad, according to the new plan.

    Up to 550 Czech troops, including a reserve company, may be deployed in Kosovo in 2009, same as this year.

    "We have been gradually withdrawing troops from Iraq. We will participate in two big mission, in Kosovo and Afghanistan," Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said.

    Czech soldiers will continue to participate in some observer missions, such as in monitoring whether the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel is kept on the Sinai peninsula.

    Within the NATO Response Force, the Czech military is to prepare a passive surveillance system unit, a decontamination unit and a chemical laboratory. Up to 229 Czech troops may be deployed with the response force.

    The Czech Republic and Slovakia will form a battle group next year that is to include up to 1,800 Czech troops.

    The Defense Ministry is to earmark 2.4 billion crowns (140 million U.S. dollars) for Czech foreign missions. The plan is yet to be passed by parliament. 

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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