Slovakia agrees to double Afgan deployment

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BRATISLAVA, Oct 17 (Reuters) The Slovak government approved today a proposal to double its military presence in Afghanistan by deploying 58 officers and doctors there in 2008, a government document showed.

Slovakia has a multi-task team of 57 soldiers in Afghanistan that is involved in airport and road reconstruction projects.

It was originally based in the capital Kabul but it transferred to the more violent southern region of Kandahar in May.

The additional deployment is expected to be welcomed by the Dutch, the lead nation for NATO operations in the province of Uruzgan, who are seeking to reduce their presence there and have being trying to get other nations to fill the gap.

The deployment, approved at a regular government meeting today, is estimated to cost 359.2 million crowns (15.15 million dollar) next year.

In the new team, eight members will be doctors based in Kabul.

The rest are soldiers, 43 of whom will head for Uruzgan.

REUTERS RSA KN2218

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