Czech soldiers may serve in same missions in 2021, 2022 | info.cz

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Czech soldiers may serve in same missions in 2021, 2022

Czech soldiers may serve in same missions in 2021, 2022
 

The Czech Republic will probably send its soldiers to the same military missions where they are serving now in 2021 and 2022 as well, focusing primarily on Afghanistan and North Africa, Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar (for ANO) has told CTK.

Chief of Staff Ales Opata and Deputy Defence Minister in charge is defence policy and strategy section Radomir Jahoda have confirmed this. Metnar wants to have the respective mandate prepared by mid-2020. It must yet be approved by the government and parliament.

Metnar said he did not expect any fundamental changes except for Afghanistan where the Czech deployment would change next year.

The Czech military will withdraw the soldiers guarding the Bagram allied base. Instead, Czechs will help train the Afghan special forces. Besides, a Czech field surgical team will return to Kabul.

The Czech military has the strongest contingent in Afghanistan where more than 300 Czech soldiers are serving now, the military says on its website.

Under the current mandate, approved by the Czech parliament in the summer, up to 390 Czech soldiers can be sent to Afghanistan. The biggest unit is guarding the Bagram air base. The command wants to withdraw it. Further, up to 20 military police officers are to protect the Czech embassy in Kabul.

Metnar said the planned change in the Afghan mission concept may lead to cutting the number of the deployed soldiers. "However, we will secure the activities that are more demanded, such as the mentoring of the Afghan security and special force and military surgical teams," he added.

The change in Afghanistan is in harmony with the demands by the Resolute Support allied operation's commander.

Czech soldiers will focus on training, support for and assistance to the Afghan special force units.

The Czech military will also participate in the strengthening of the military hospital at the Kabul base where a ten-member Czech surgical team should be sent next year. The same unit operated in Kabul in the past.

Jahoda said the "geography" of the foreign missions would not change in 2021 and 2022 and that he did not expect the number of the deployed soldiers to change either.

Along with Afghanistan, Czech troops operate in the Baltics, Iraq, Sinai, the Balkans, Mali and on the Golan Heights.

In Mali, the Czech military will assume the command of the EU training mission for six months next year. It is to send some 40 soldiers to the command of the mission, in which 600 soldiers from 20 different countries serve now.

The French press reported of late that Czech soldiers may help train the Malian special force. "This is in the phase of negotiations so far," Opata said.

If politicians decided to send the special force to Mali next year, the parliament would have to approve a new mandate for the mission.

 
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