Colombia to send demining experts to Afghanistan
BOGOTA, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) — Colombia’s government will send experts to sweep mines and combat illegal harvests in Afghanistan, Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said Wednesday.
Santos said his country made the decision at the request of a visiting Afghan delegation, saying, “We will send some officers tosee what kind of help, over all humanitarian assistance, is needed; for example, demining or training for manual eradication.”
“Now we will determine how many experts and which group will be sent to Afghanistan,” Santos said.
Santos will make an official announcement during the summit of defense ministers in Canada next week.
Afghan anti-drug commanders are being trained by Colombian experts at the military base Pijaos in the municipality of El Espinal, in Tolima province.
In addition, Colombia is reportedly to help the Spanish contingent of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) led by NATO in the province of Badghis, northwest of Afghanistan, to combat the Taliban guerrillas.
However, Santos denied these reports, saying that the Colombian officers will face the same risk as any person dedicated to removing explosive devices in conflict zones, but there is no possibility of joining the groups fighting the Taliban.