Czech military to remain in Afghanistan after 2016

Prague, Sep 10 (IANS) After a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the Czech military plans to be involved in Afghanistan even after 2016 when US forces ends their mission.

The Czech military mission in Afghanistan has been approved to serve till the end of 2016. There were 281 Czech soldiers served in Afghanistan until the beginning of September, most of them are in charge of protecting the Bagram allied air base, Xinhua reported.

Sobotka said the Czech military’s budget would be increased again after several years, which would help improve the capabilities and capacities of the army.

The defence budget should rise from $1.81 billion this year to 47.5 billion crowns next year. The Czech Republic was one of the 10 countries that contribute to the international operation in Afghanistan the most.

Stoltenberg praised the Czech Republic for having been able to cope with the financial crisis which allows the country to enable the increase of investment in defence, welcoming the great determination of the Czech government to do this.

The US military announced it would pull out from Afghanistan as from the end of 2016.

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