Hungary prolongs stay of troops in Afghanistan

14:16, April 01, 2011      

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Hungary has prolonged the stay of its troops in Afghanistan, the Hungarian Defense Ministry announced in Budapest on Thursday.

A statement circulated by the ministry said that the cabinet had extended the mandate of its Provincial Reconstruction Team stationed in Puli Khumri until October 1, 2011. The 240-member Hungarian force has been handling reconstruction projects, peacekeeping, patrolling, guard duty and convoy accompaniment in Baghlan Province since 2006.

At the same time, it has extended the mandate of the Air Mentor Team, which is focused on training the Afghan Air Force, until May 1, 2012. This team is charged with training and mentoring Afghan forces, in keeping with NATO objectives. Their goal at this point is to assist in training the Afghan armed forces to become self- sustaining in maintaining the country's national security, the statement said.

The Hungarian-American Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team mandate, a cooperation effort between the Ohio National Guard and a Hungarian unit that is also focused on promoting a self- sustaining Afghan force, was extended until August 31, 2012. This team, made up of law enforcement and military personnel, includes 30 Hungarians and one of its tasks has been to secure Kabul Airport.

There are also 50 staff officers. Sixteen Hungarians are serving in Special Operations under U.S. command where they are involved in reconnaissance and other actions.

To date four Hungarians have been killed in the line of duty.

The statement underlined that Hungary's policy towards Afghanistan was unchanged.

Source: Xinhua
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