Slovakia to double troops in Afghanistan

Slovakia to double troops in Afghanistan

Slovakia has pledged to double its troops deployed with the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan to around 500, Prime Minister Robert Fico says, Press TV reported.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomed Slovakia's move as he was lobbying hard with allies across Europe to increase the international troop strength in Afghanistan by at least 5,000.

Brown added that around 10 other countries are expected to offer new contributions.

Defending his move, Fico said that the Slovak government sees an essential difference between the conflict in Iraq and the one in Afghanistan, and so it is ready to increase the number of its troops.

Neither Fico nor Brown commented on when or where the Slovaks might be deployed, but many NATO countries have been under pressure to move their troops away from relatively safe parts of Afghanistan to more dangerous areas where US and British forces are fighting the Taliban.

Slovakia's pledge comes as US President Barack Obama's administration nears a decision on whether to boost the number of US troops there.

In all, the international force in Afghanistan is currently about 100,000 strong.

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