21 May 2004
BRUSSELS – Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt is to double Belgium’s military presence in Afghanistan.
The country has 300 soldiers in Kabul, under the direction of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Forces. During his official visit to Kabul on Thursday, Verhofstadt promised Afghan President Hamed Karzai he would send 300 more.
The Prime Minister said the doubling would make Belgium the “fifth most important contributor” to ISAF.
Defence Minister Andre Flahaut, who accompanied Verhofstadt, also pledged to station a C-130 transport aircraft, probably from June.
“The reason why I came here is because I personally believe we aren’t paying enough attention to Afghanistan,” said Verhofstadt. “We must help the stabilisation of the country and the holding of elections.”
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news