October 27, 2009 08:55
In response to U.S. pressure, the government wants to boost the civilian support unit in Afghanistan and could send troops to protect them.
At a session of the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee that day, Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan said the government plans to dispatch at least 130 civilian specialists to Afghanistan for reconstruction "and is also considering sending police or military troops to protect them."
Yu said the government plans to boost the medical, vocational and police training programs of the Provincial Reconstruction Team.
The government had already decided to increase the number of PRT workers in Afghanistan from 25 to 85 early next year. Yu hinted that could be boosted by another 50.
On the dispatch of troops, Yu said, "Currently, Korean civilians are under the protection of the U.S. military. But if the PRT is expanded, we'll need to protect our workers on our own." He added Korea is "not thinking" of sending combat troops there.
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