Czech soldiers not required for ally operation in Afghanistan for the time being

Afghanistan, photo CTK

Czech soldiers - a rapid deployment unit from the town of Prostejov - are not required for the on-going anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan, as was originally planned. Although the Czech Republic was among the first countries to offer help, the British, who command the current international operation in Afghanistan aimed at stabilizing the country, told the Czech Defence Minister, Jaroslav Tvrdik on Tuesday they did not, for the time being at least, require Czech soldiers. Alena Skodova spoke with the Deputy Defence Minister, Stefan Fule:

Afghanistan,  photo CTK
"The reasons were purely military, we are not really happy here in the Czech Republic about this development but we recognize that every and each operation has a specific requirement and while it was reasonable to think in the first stage of the preparation for this operation that the Czechs will be part of it, I think within the line of communication between the Britons and the Afghans, between us and the Britons it appeared more and more obvious that what we had been offering was not really what is needed on the ground. That happens in these kinds of operations and we are definitely ready to keep this unit prepared for any further phase of this operation, or any other anti-terrorist operation."

Was it because we offered just a small unit and bigger units were required?

German soldiers in Afganistan,  photo CTK

"This might be one of the explanations, people could recall that originally we were speaking about 5,000 troops, then during discussions it was agreed with the Afghans this would be around 3,000 troops, a specific mandate was discussed, specific goals for those troops, and it has also been decided to keep the list of the contributing countries as short as possible. So a simple answer to your question is 'yes'."

But we still have a well prepared chemical unit and it will be deployed...

"Yes, it will. I think we are ready at this stage to solve practical issues and in fact implement various stages of our deployment, we have commanders going to the region in mid-January, we have a preparatory party going there in mid-February, and just in the first days of March the full scope of the Czech unit will be sent to the region."