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Slovakia to keep soldiers in Kabul - for now

PM Robert Fico has said that for now, Slovakia will not move its soldiers from Kabul to the province of Kandahar in the south of Afghanistan as requested by NATO.

The Slovak leader argued on November 29 following a cabinet meeting that neither the security nor the technical requirements had been met for the redeployment. The Fico government has insisted that NATO guarantee the security of its troops before they are moved to the more dangerous south.

Fico says that Slovakia's 60-strong military engineering unit in Afghanistan is taking part in the country's reconstruction and not in military operations. "These are not mountain riflemen or people who can participate in combat operations," he said at a press conference.

If conditions change, especially those concerning security, the government will reevaluate its stance at the end of March, the prime minister added.

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