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Cablegate: Afghanistan: Austria Sending Up to 100 Soldiers

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS VIENNA 001895

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR PM, SA/PAB, EUR/RPM, EUR/ERA AND EUR/AGS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR PREL KPKO AF AU BK SR MK NATO EUN
SUBJECT: AFGHANISTAN: AUSTRIA SENDING UP TO 100 SOLDIERS
FOR SEPTEMBER ELECTIONS

REFS: A) VIENNA 1152
B)VIENNA AU 081201Z APR 05

This message is sensitive but unclassified.

1. (SBU) On June 7, the Austrian Council of Ministers
(cabinet) unanimously approved the deployment of up to
100 Austrian soldiers to Afghanistan in August - October
2005. Parliament's standing committee will have to give
final approval to the deployment mandate, possibly as
early as June 10. Speaking on Austrian television June
7, Defense Minister Platter said that the decision came
in response to a request by UN secretary general Kofi
Annan. Austria wants to contribute to building a stable
and secure environment prior to and during the September
elections in Afghanistan, Chancellor Schuessel explained.
According to Platter, the Austrian mandate will run to
the end of October 2005. Platter earlier told Embassy's
Defense Attache that the Austrian soldiers would deploy
as part of the security element for the German PRT in
Konduz.

2. (SBU) Austria had previously deployed about 70 troops
within the German ISAF contingent in Kabul from February
to December 2002, and a five-man National Intelligence
Cell from January to August 2003. Since 2004, a handful
of Austrian staff officers have served at ISAF
headquarters and at UNAMA.

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3. (SBU) In March 2005, German Defense Minister Struck
asked Platter to consider Austrian participation in a
German-led PRT in Afghanistan. The decision to redeploy
has not been especially controversial. Only Freedom
Party chairman Heinz-Christian Strache has vocally
opposed the move, arguing that it was too dangerous to
send Austrian soldiers to this region.

Brown

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