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Italy extends troops’ stay in Afghanistan

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Italian troops to stay in Afghanistan through 2016 to combat increasing terrorism along with the coalition and Afghan forces, said the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi during at a press conference on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister said that the Italian troops which serving a combat mission in Afghanistan consist of men and women would stay in Afghanistan through 2016. The troops will fight terrorism with the collaboration of the United States and other NATO member countries’ forces to support the “Afghan brothers” in uniform.

His statement came after talks with President Ashraf Ghani in Rome.

During the meeting with Renzi, Ghani appreciated the Italian forces for the continued support in battle against terrorism and hoped for further assistance of Italy to Afghanistan.

While thanking the Italian security forces for their efforts in restoring stability and security in Afghanistan, Ghani hoped the Italian Prime Minister and the Italian parliament for approving the extension of vis-a-vis a resolute support mission of the Italian forces in Afghanistan. The Italian parliament is likely to approve the extension of the mission.

The decision came after the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg agreed to keep 12,000 troops in Afghanistan through 2016 to combat growing Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. He said that the alliance has committed to provide $4 billion USD annually for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) until 2020.

The current numbers of the Italian troops are around 760 in Afghanistan. At least 54 Italian troops have lost their lives and many others wounded in a combat mission over the decade.

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