Poland will add 400 soldiers to its 1600-strong military mission in Afghanistan by mid-April to help improve security in the strife-torn country ahead of the presidential election in August.
This will make up one-tenth of about 4,000 extra soldiers NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called for recently to reinforce the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan to secure the polls.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced the government's decision Tuesday to formally ask the president to increase our contingent.
Sending more troops is justified from the point of view of our own forces' security there, Tusk told reporters.
The move is a marked deviation from the Polish government's previous stand not to increase its forces in Afghanistan, as budget savings is a priority because of a sharp economic slowdown.
President Lech Kaczynski, who has spoken in favor of increasing Poland's engagement in Afghanistan, is expected to approve the plan.
In addition to the reinforcement, another 200 soldiers will be ready for possible rapid, short-term deployment in Afghanistan if required, a government statement said.
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