Defence Ministry planning sustained involvement in foreign missions

Photo: archive of Czech Government

The Czech Defence Ministry has revealed the details of its foreign missions plan for 2017 -2018. The plan envisages continued participation in all current foreign operations and greater involvement in the fight against Daesh.

Photo: archive of Czech Government
In the coming two years the Czech military wants to maintain its presence in all current foreign operations. The missions Resolute Support in Afghanistan, where the Czech Army has its biggest contingent, and the UN mission in Mali, where the Czech Republic increased its presence in order to allow France to re-deploy its airmen in the fight against Daesh, are considered top priorities.

Press spokesman for the Ministry of Defence Petr Medek says the army should have 270 soldiers in Afghanistan in 2017, with 20 of them protecting the Czech embassy in Kabul.

“As far as our Afghan mission is concerned we will continue to be involved in the protection of allied units and the training of the country’s security forces. The number of troops on the ground will be slightly reduced as compared to 2016, but considering the size of the Czech Republic our contribution will still be significant.”

The Czech military should also maintain its presence in the UN mission in Mali, where it has a sixty-strong contingent and the Sinai where it has 25 soldiers and a CASA transport plane for military operations. The army will also retain a small number of soldiers in peacekeeping forces in the Balkans where the security situation is still fragile. Ten Czech soldiers will be deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, two in Kosovo.

The Czech Republic should also continue to take part in EU naval operations, including its anti-piracy mission in the Horn of Africa and operations against people smugglers in the Mediterranean. In both cases the Czech army will send experts to the missions’ command structures. Czech experts should also help in the fight against Daesh. Just two weeks ago the Czech government approved sending an air-force consultancy team to Iraq where Czech troops are to help train Iraqi pilots on Czech-made L-159 training jets.

Photo: Jan Šulc / Czech Army
The cost of the foreign missions operations in the coming years should be over two billion crowns. Petr Medek again:

“In 2017 we envisage expenditures of 1.2 billion crowns and in 2018 expenditures should be around 1.1 billion. The money should come from the Defence Ministry’s budget and it will be available so there should be no problem with finances.”

The army’s mandate for foreign missions is due to expire at the end of the year which means that the present proposal for the next two years will have to be approved by Parliament by the end of 2016.