Italy eyes support in western Afghanistan

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Rome, Feb 15 (IANS/AKI) Italy needs to redistribute the troops it deploys world conflict zones and wants military support from other countries for its contingent in western Afghanistan, Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said on Wednesday.

“We are facing other emergencies in Africa and the Mediterranean and we need to better distribute our forces,” Pinotti told Italian daily Corriere della Sera in an interview.

“We have explained to (US defence secretary James) Mattis that we need other allies to share part of our responsibilities in western Afghanistan,” she said.

Pinotti said the US has asked Italy to keep troops in Afghanistan, where it has stepped up an air offensive to support Afghan anti-insurgent operations and break the military stalemate with the Taliban.

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The majority of Italy’s 900-strong military contingent in Afghanistan is currently deployed in the western province of Herat and the remainder in Kabul.

–IANS/AKI

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