BUCHAREST, Romania – President Traian Basescu pledged Thursday to send more troops to Afghanistan and continue Romania's support for rebuilding and stabilizing the war-torn country.
Basescu, who made a quick visit to Afghanistan following a one-day visit to Iraq, met with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai and offered Romania's assistance in areas such as building new cement factories, power plants and training Afghan specialists and officers.
After his meeting with Karzai, Basescu said Romania would boost its troop presence in Afghanistan at NATO's request.
"We have over 680 troops in Afghanistan and we are preparing another battalion that was solicited by NATO," Basescu was quoted as saying by state news agency Rompres.
Karzai thanked Romania for its support and said he was interested to learn from the former communist country's transition to democracy, the statement added.
Basescu also met with Romanian troops in Kandahar, Kabul and the Zabol province. He said Romania remains committed to help the international community bring stability and security to Afghanistan.
Basescu's offer to send more troops comes amid a dispute between the president and Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu over the country's 700 troops in Iraq. Tariceanu has proposed withdrawing the troops at the end of the year, citing the high costs of the operations, but Basescu, who is commander in chief, rejected the proposal.