Armenia Expects NATO Offers on Afghan Contingent Deployment
YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia is likely to contribute to NATO and U.S. operations in Afghanistan by sending forces, an Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman has confirmed, without specifying details.
Colonel Seyran Shahsuvarian told RFE/RL on Thursday details of the deployment are being currently discussed in Germany where an Armenian military official is taking part in a NATO planning conference.
Shahsuvarian said Armenia expects proposals already on Friday.
“We will discuss them and their details will be made public then,” the spokesman said, adding that earlier Armenia had offered its contribution with medical specialists and interpreters.
Associated Press on Wednesday quoted Armenia’s Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian as saying that Armenia will send forces to Afghanistan “by the end of the year” and that “some Armenians who fought in the Soviet Union’s unsuccessful 1980s war in Afghanistan want to return as part of the new force.” The minister, however, did not say how many servicemen would be deployed. Unnamed officials quoted by AP said Armenia would likely send munitions experts and communication officers.
Armenia has already participated in Western-led peacekeeping operations abroad, notably in Kosovo and Iraq.
About 50 Armenian sappers, military doctors and other non-combat personnel were deployed in Iraq in early 2005. Yerevan pulled all its servicemen out of Iraq last autumn along with the withdrawal of a much larger Polish army contingent that commanded them