Mon, January 05, 2009
World > Asia-Pacific

Macedonia sends more troops to Afghanistan

2009-01-05 10:11:38 GMT2009-01-05 18:11:38 (Beijing Time)  xinhuanet

TIRANA, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Macedonia sent a new batch of 150 troops to Afghanistan on Monday to join the international peacekeeping mission on the ground, news reports from Skopje said.

The new troops will be stationed in the capital Kabul under the command of the British army, helping provide security to the central command of the international security assistance force in Afghanistan.

Macedonia has been taking part in the NATO-led international peacekeeping efforts in Afghanistan since 2002. It usually maintains about 130 soldiers and officers there.

Macedonia withdrew all its troops from Iraq at the end of last year, ending the country's participation in Iraq's war efforts.

The tiny western Balkan country has been trying to join NATO for years, but its efforts had been thwarted last year by Greece over a name dispute between the two neighbors.

Athens has been opposed to its northern neighbor being called the "Republic of Macedonia," arguing it implies a territorial claim over a Greek northern province also called Macedonia.

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