Extra Belgian troops for Afghanistan
30 July 2004
BRUSSELS – One-hundred-and-fifty Belgian paratroopers are set to head to Afghanistan to join NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), it was reported on Friday.
The 1st Paratrooper Battalion from Dienst will this weekend fly to Kabul from the military airport at Melsbroek, near Brussels.
A military spokesman said they would form part of a Norwegian-led battle group, along with Hungarian soldiers.
The unit will be sent to the western district of the Afghan capital – a more dangerous posting than that of the existing Belgian force, which is stationed at Kabul airport.
Another 30-strong platoon is being sent to the airport to guard ISAF’s fuel depot.
And a C-130 air-carrier, manned with around 20 soldiers, is to head to Kabul in mid-August.
On July 9 parliament approved the government’s decision to send the additional Belgian troops to Afghanistan.
The reinforcements bring the country’s total contingent in the region to 620 soldiers.
That will make Belgium the fifth biggest contributor to the ISAF force, which totals 6,500 soldiers.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news