Italy willing 'to keep troops in Afghanistan'

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Italian soldiers stand to attention during a change of command ceremony at an Italian military camp near Herat airport, Afghanistan. Photo: Aref Karimi/AFP
09:17 CEST+02:00
Italy is willing to keep its troops in Afghanistan “at current levels”, it was reported on Monday.

Nato Europe commander General Philip M. Breedlove told Reuters that he had assurances that Nato countries were willing to keep their military presence in the country.

"Several of our largest contributors have already communicated with us that they will remain in their current posture," he said.

He declined to give details but a second senior Nato official told the news agency that Italy, Germany and Turkey were willing to maintain their troops at current levels.

Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Friday that his government was considering keeping Italian troops in Afghanistan for another year after US President Barack Obama said America would prolong its 14-year military presence in the country to combat growing Taliban insurgency.

Italy has around 760 soldiers in Afghanistan. The mission has cost the lives of 54 Italian troops and wounded many more over the past decade, Ansa reported.

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Any decision on prolonging Italy’s military presence would need approval from parliament.

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