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Latvia to increase its military presence in Afghanistan to 150-200 troops

RIA Novosti

12/09/2007 17:28 RIGA, September 12 (RIA Novosti) - Latvia is going to increase its military presence in Afghanistan to 150-200 troops in 2008, Atis Slakteris, Latvia's defense minister said Wednesday.

"We plan to increase the number of troops to 150 soldiers, and to 200 soldiers in case of emergency. We are coordinating the missions assigned to our troops as part as the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) in Afghanistan," Slakteris told a press conference.

There are 95 Latvian contract soldiers and two policemen in Afghanistan at the moment. In accordance with a decision taken at the NATO summit in Riga last November, the Latvian troops are to leave Iraq and redeploy to Afghanistan.

President Valdis Zatlers visited the Latvian base in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, and talked to the Latvian troops last weekend.

Latvian troops are deployed in Afghanistan under a UN resolution.



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