Czechs Plan to Deploy More Troops in Afghanistan

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The Czech Defense Ministry says it plans to increase the number of its troops in Afghanistan by about 200 next year.

Ministry spokesman Jan Pejsek says the number of Czech troops serving in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force could reach some 600 in 2009.

Pejsek said Monday the plan needs full government approval in September or October. Parliament also needs to approve the deployment.

The Czech parliament approved the deployment of up to 415 Czech servicemen in NATO's peacekeeping force in Afghanistan this year.

A separate unit of 100 elite troops should continue to serve next year in Afghanistan with the U.S.-led operation against Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters, Pejsek said.