JULY 26 2012 17:44h
In compliance with NATO's decision that in the years to come member-states will make assessments on their own on how many troops they would deploy in the ISAF peace mission in Afghanistan, Croatia's government on Thursday decided to downsize its contingent in that Asian country by 50 servicemen until 30 April 2013, and by an additional 100 until the end of next year.
Deputy Defence Minister Visnja Tafra said that up to 350 Croatian troops had participated in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan last and this year, in line with the national parliament's decision.
With the announcements from the Alliance about stronger engagement of Afghan military and security forces in operative tasks, member-states have been offered a possibility to assess on their own how many troops they will send to Afghanistan, Tafra said.
Accordingly, the cabinet led by Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic today decided that from 1 January to 30 April 2013 Croatia would send 50 fewer soldiers that it does now, and it will make a further reduction by 100 fewer soldiers by the end of 2013, which means that Croatia's ISAF contingent will be scaled down to 250 members.
The government sent to parliament a report on the Croatian contingent performance from 1 September 2010 to 31 March 2012. In the said period a total of 988 Croatian soldiers, including 32 women, were deployed in Afghanistan and their deployment cost Croatia HRK 380 million.
Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic conveyed praises she heard in diplomatic circles and in NATO about the engagement of Croatia's soldiers.
The government today gave a go-ahead to the donation of 1,200 assault rifles of AK-47 type, made in Hungary, to the U.S. Marine Corps for training of their recruits.
The transport of the HRK 445,000-worth rifle supply will be organised and financed by the Marine Corps. (Hina)