Czech NATO troops to control Kabul airport

Czech troops will be assigned to control Kabul 's airport at the end of the year as NATO's peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan expands, officials said Friday. Czechs have increased their contribution to the ISAF peacekeeping mission this year to 150 troops and one part of it will control the airport for four months starting in December, the country's chief of staff Lt. Gen. Pavel Stefka said.

Speaking after a meeting with NATO Military Committee chief Raymond Henault, Stefka said the 50-man strong team will control both civilian and military flights and include demining experts as well as meteorologists. NATO is moving forward with plans to extend its peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan across the whole of the country by November, a move that could more that double the size of the mission to 21,000.

"We fully expect that we will remain committed in Afghanistan over the next five or ten years," Henault said Henault is in Prague to discuss the transformation of the Czech army and meet with Czech leaders. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999, reports the AP.

N.U.

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