Sabato, 20 Ottobre 2018

Italy to continue Afghan mission until 2014, minister says


Rome, June 12 - The Italian government intends to
"continue its participation in the NATO-led International
Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan ending
it as scheduled in 2014", Defence Minister Mario Mauro said on
Wednesday, briefing the Lower House on an attack last Saturday
which killed an Italian soldier serving in ISAF.
Giuseppe La Rosa, a 31-year-old member of the Third
Bersaglieri Regiment, was killed in a hand-grenade attack by an
adult who is now under arrest and not, as initially claimed by
the Taliban, by an 11-year-old, Mauro said.
The attack that killed La Rosa in Farah Province, western
Afghanistan "was coupled with a real psychological war with the
release of information claiming the attacker was an 11-year-old
boy so it would come across almost as an heroic act carried out
with the participation of the population", the defence minister
told an almost-empty House on Wednesday.
The attacker, Mauro said, has been identified as Walick
Ahmad, 20, and has given "a full confession", taking
responsibility for both the death of La Rosa and another attack
carried out on Tuesday in the same area against Italian troops
aboard a Lince (Lynx) armoured vehicle which caused no victims.
The death of La Rosa, the 53rd Italian to be killed in
Afghanistan since the beginning of NATO operations, led to calls
from some parties for the pull-out to be sped up.
The Italian contingent which now has about 3,100 units is
being progressively reduced this year and "will be further cut
down throughout 2014'.
After the ISAF mission in Afghanistan ends "we intend to
continue our engagement in that country beyond 2014 by assisting
and training Afghan troops", said the minister.
The new mission "will be non-combat and will not include
the fight against insurgents, nor against terrorism and drug
trafficking," Mauro said.
Coalition forces currently train, mentor and fight
alongside Afghan troops.

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