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Galko: Slovakia must face possibility of troop losses in Afghanistan

Defence Minister Ľubomír Galko bade farewell to 16 members of the Fifth Special Task Force Regiment in Žilina on Tuesday, September 6, ahead of their departure for Afghanistan.

Defence Minister Ľubomír Galko bade farewell to 16 members of the Fifth Special Task Force Regiment in Žilina on Tuesday, September 6, ahead of their departure for Afghanistan.

"These lads, elite soldiers, are going off to war. For the first time in [modern Slovakia’s] history, our soldiers are going to be deployed in real combat situations. We must be prepared for any tragedy, we must be prepared for the possibility that some of them might not return. This is a contribution by a free and self-confident Slovakia – as a reliable member of NATO – towards global security. Nobody wishes for this and nobody wants this [troop losses], but it must be openly stated," Galko said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

The Slovak servicemen will join Afghan troops in real combat situations. "They will carry out special operations in co-operation with Afghan soldiers, and in line with NATO's strategic concept. They'll carry out the principle that has been agreed; i.e. gradually handing over power to the Afghan national military so that the goal of handing over power to the Afghan people and Afghan security forces by 2014 is achieved," Galko said. According to the commander and chief of the group, the task of the Slovak soldiers will be to show Afghan troops how to carry out special tasks. Galko indicated that if NATO responds well to the special unit, there is a possibility that the number of Slovak patrol units and sappers will be reduced in exchange for the further deployment of special task force troops.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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