Newport - About 300 Czech soldiers might operate within NATO´s planned new training mission in Afghanistan next year, Czech President Milos Zeman told journalists at the NATO summit in Wales today.
Český prezident Miloš Zeman vystoupil 5. září na tiskové konferenci ve velšském Newportu, dějišti summitu NATO. ČTK Dospiva Jakub
At the end of 2014, NATO will terminate its long-term ISAF operation, which is to be replaced by Resolute Support, a new, non-combat and far less extensive mission.
"Their main goal will be to train and instruct the Afghan police and army," Zeman said, referring to the possible Czech participants in the planned mission.
It is to involve about 12,000 troops and help train local police and soldiers for several years.
However, the winner of the Afghan presidential election is still not known, due to political turbulences in the country, which prevents the necessary agreements from being signed by Kabul on the one side and the USA and NATO on the other, so that the mission can start.
Both presidential candidates, nevertheless, have indicated that they would sign the agreements. This makes NATO mildly optimistic and hoping that it would not have to withdraw the ISAF´s equipment, which the new mission is supposed to use, from Afghanistan at the end of 2014.
The Afghan armed forces, comprising 350,000 troops, are to take over responsibility for Afghanistan´s safety as from the beginning of 2015.
NATO plans to financially support them.