Source AP ©

Slovakia to have 111 troops in Afghanistan in 2008

Slovakia will double its contribution to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan next year, the defense minister said Wednesday.

Slovakia currently has 57 military engineers as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

"In 2008, we'll have 111 troops in this mission," Defense Minister Frantisek Kasicky said. The plan still has needs parliamentary approval.

The current Slovak mission serves in the southern Afghan town of Kandahar, where they were moved from Kabul at the request of NATO earlier this year.

Of the new troops, 35 would be deployed as guards alongside Dutch troops in Uruzgan, Kasicky said. The rest would be sent to the mission's headquarters and to the training, medical and reconstruction team.

Slovakia will also increase the number of its troops in the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo by 39 servicemen with two helicopters, Kasicky said. Another five officers will be deployed at the headquarters of the force, known as KFOR, he said.

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