Sunday, 20 April 2014

More than 7,000 Czech soldiers involved in Afghan war

ČTK |
6 October 2011

Prague, Oct 5 (CTK) - Some 7000 Czech soldiers have gradually taken part in the Afghan war since it was launched in 2001, four of whom died there, Jiri Stabl, from the Defence Ministry press department, has told CTK.

The Czech Republic has spent 8.3 billion crowns on participation in the armed conflict, Stabl said.

Czechs have deployed special forces, military doctors, pilots, chemists and pyrotechnicians in the war.

The Czech Republic contributed to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for the first time in 2002 when it sent the 6th field hospital to Kabul.

Its operation in the country was followed up by the 11th hospital.

Czech doctors treated some 2000 coalition soldiers and 12,000 Afghan inhabitants in the years 2002-03.

The Czech Republic then sent meteorologists, pyrotechnicians and air service control specialists to the country afterwards.

They were deployed at the international airport in Kabul.

In the years 2006-07, the Czech Republic became the leading country of the base, being responsible for the control and security of all activities of the airport.

Czechs have operated in Kabul to date. They have there a logistics centre, a chemists unit and a team training Afghans to pilot Mi-17 and Mi-24 helicopters that the Czech Republic has donated to the Afghan national military.

A field surgical team cooperating with colleagues from other countries operates near the airport.

Czech soldiers were also deployed in Fayzabad province in 2005-07, protecting a German provincial reconstruction team.

In 2008 Czech soldiers protected a Dutch base in Uruzgan.

The Czech Republic also sent a group of special forces to the U.S. anti-terrorism Enduring Freedom operation in 2004 for the first. The soldiers returned to Afghanistan several times later.

At present they are deployed in Nangarhar province, but under ISAF command.

A Czech Provincial reconstruction team operates in Logar province. Civilian experts work on the reconstruction of the war-destroyed infrastructure. Several hundred soldiers see to their safety.

Since 2009 a unit of upgraded Soviet-made Mi-171S helicopters, equipped with onboard machine guns for the first time, has been deployed in Paktika province.

The helicopters transport soldiers as well as supplies. Their deployment will end in December when they will return to the Czech Republic for service and maintenance.

Czechs are also training Afghan security forces in Wardak province.

The first Czech soldier died in Afghanistan in 2007 under an avalanche of stones and mud.

In 2008 a member of a special unit of the military police died in a suicide attack in the south of Afghanistan.

Another soldier died in Logar when his off-roader struck an explosive.

In May 2011, a soldier died when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Wardak.

An Afghan interpreter also died in the explosion and another two soldiers received wounds.

Some 720 Czech soldiers are currently deployed in Afghanistan. Next year, their number is to be about 100 lower.

($1=18.889 crowns)

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