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    Italy plans to send more troops to Afghanistan during elections

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    Italy could temporarily increase its military contingent in Afghanistan during August presidential elections in the war-torn Central Asian country, the Italian defense minister said on Friday.

    ROME, February 20 (RIA Novosti) - Italy could temporarily increase its military contingent in Afghanistan during August presidential elections in the war-torn Central Asian country, the Italian defense minister said on Friday.

    NATO defense ministers agreed on Thursday at a meeting in Krakow, Poland to make election security in Afghanistan a top priority, as the United States urged its allies to boost their efforts in the fight against the Taliban-led insurgency.

    "There is a higher risk of terrorist attacks [during the elections], which calls for more troops to control the territory," Ignazio La Russa said, adding that the number of extra troops sent to Afghanistan "will not be very significant."

    Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said on Wednesday that the number of reinforcements for the Afghan elections on August 20 could total up to 250 soldiers. The Italian contingent in Afghanistan currently comprises 2,800 personnel, several helicopters and 4 Tornado combat/reconnaissance jets.

    Italian troops lead Regional Command West, and the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in the Herat Province.

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