published: 02.09.2012, 13:16 | updated: 02.09.2012 14:02:54
Kabul - Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas is visiting Czech troops deployed within the ISAF mission in Afghanistan for the first time, accompanied by new chief-of-staff Petr Pavel.
Their programme had to be changed over an attack of a suicide bomber in the Wardak province.
Due to the attack, Necas and Pavel did not visit the Czech operational mentoring and liaison team (OMLT) in this province today.
A vehicle exploded near the entrance of a military outpost on Saturday morning, killing 12 people and destroying military equipment. One Czech soldier present at the time of the attack was not injured.
The security situation in Afghanistan where over 500 Czech troops are currently operating is unstable. The ISAF mission is to end on December 31, 2014.
Necas today visited the provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in Logar that will leave Afghanistan in March 2013.
"This only confirmed to me how important it is to stabilise the security situation in Afghanistan," Necas told journalists after the attack.
"We were lucky again. We were waiting for the visit of the prime minister and the general (Pavel). Their visit actually saved our lives," Czech OMLT commander Martin Botik said.
"Under standard conditions, I have 12 soldiers in the place where it happened," Botik said about the suicide attack.
The strong blast could be heard in a distance of about 20 kilometres.
As a result, Botik met Necas and Pavel at the base in the Logar Province.
Necas said he believes the cooperation between the Afghan armed forces and the ISAF international units will improve the security situation in the country.
He nevertheless said there are many risks and threats on the path towards the handing of the responsibility to the Afghan army and police at the end of 2014.
Necas and Pavel discussed the situation in Afghanistan with ISAF deputy commander, British Lieutenant General Adrian Bradshaw on Saturday.
Necas praised the work of the Czech troops in the Afghan mission. "The Czech Republic presents itself as a very creditable and reliable partner here. We have a clear idea of what to do with the units - to transform them into military consulting teams," Necas said.
Necas and Pavel left for Afghanistan on Friday night. The information on their visit was released only today, for security reasons.
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