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UPDATED: 20:58, December 21, 2006
Germany to deploy reconnaissance aircraft in Afghanistan
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Germany plans to deploy reconnaissance aircraft in Afghanistan in response to NATO's request to expand its operation in the country, German media reported on Thursday.

German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung would order the deployment of five or six Tornado reconnaissance aircraft to Afghanistan as part of Germany's peace-keeping force in the war-torn country, the German news agency DPA reported.

The report quoted a local newspaper, the Passauer Neuen Presse, as saying that the aircraft would be deployed in the "whole of Afghanistan" including the embattled south.

Germany currently has about 3,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

The German government has repeatedly said the German troops would be on duty only in the north-east of Afghanistan and refused to send them to the south to join the battle against remnants of the deposed Taliban.

The Passauer Neuen Presse reported that Germany would send 250 military personnel on the reconnaissance operation, but still keep the troop level at 3,000.

On Wednesday, a defense ministry spokesman said that the German authorities were studying a request from NATO to send reconnaissance airplanes to Afghanistan.

Source: Xinhua

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