Afghanistan and Iraq presence may be increased

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Latvia is considering sending additional forces to Aghanistan as part of the international military presence in the country, according to Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis.

During a Saeima Defense, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee meeting June 21, Bergmanis said that in order to strengthen the fight against terrorism, Latvia is considering increasing the number of soldiers in the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The defense minister presented to the committee his conclusions from the recent NATO Summit in Brussels.

Taking into account the events in the Middle East and NATO's resolve to strengthen the fight against terrorism, Latvia has been invited to increase its presence in Afghanistan and Iraq.

''We are currently evaluating our possibilities and remain in contact with our allies to assess how best we could increase our assistance,'' the minister said.

Bergmanis told LETA after the closed-door meeting that Latvia is evaluating what type of specialists it could send to these countries, for example, bomb disposal specialists.

However the minister confirmed that the additional Latvian soldiers would not participate in combat operations.

''We do not have a great number of human resources, and we need our specialists over here is well, which is why our allies value the fact that we are still prepared to be involved under such circumstances,'' he added.

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