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Czechs, Slovaks To Expand Afghanistan Missions

Polish soldiers with the NATO-led force at Kabul airport -- Poland wants to turn its military mission into a training mission in 2012.
The lower house of the Czech parliament has given final approval to expanding the country's military mission in Afghanistan to 720 troops next year from the current level of 535.

The troop increase had already won approval in the upper chamber, the Senate, last week.

Czech troops in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are engaged in reconstruction projects, military training, special operations, and helicopter transport.

Meanwhile, Slovakia's government has decided to increase the number of its troops in Afghanistan, but parliament still needs to approve the measure.

However, Poland has said it wants its military mission in Afghanistan to become a pure training mission in 2012 and to end altogether in 2014.

The announcement by President Bronislaw Komorowski comes ahead of a NATO summit later this month in Lisbon, Portugal.

Poland has some 2,600 soldiers in Afghanistan participating in the NATO mission.

The Afghan government has set a plan to take over security responsibility from coalition forces by 2014, while the United States and other allies have said they will begin a drawdown of forces by next year.

compiled from agency reports