The Czech government has approved a plan to keep troops in Afghanistan and Mali until at least 2018.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says the government has given the green light to the deployment as part of a plan for foreign missions over the next two years. Sobotka says Czech troops should also stay in other international forces in the Balkans, the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights.

The current mandate for Czech servicemen in NATO's Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan expires by the year's end. According to the Defense Ministry proposal, which still needs parliamentary approval, up to 290 Czechs will be deployed in Afghanistan next year, and up to 270 in 2018. The EU's mission in Mali should include 60 Czechs.