October 11, 2010
Italy’s Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa says he wants to allow Italian jets to bomb positions in Afghanistan following the killing of four Italian soldiers in the Asian country.
“It was my decision that the fighter jets use only small cannons aboard, thus Italy has planes without bombs,” the Canadian Press reported La Russa said on Sunday.
“I thought they could do without them, because there is the risk of harming civilians. That’s why, up to now, I’ve said no,” he added.
While Italy’s participation in the NATO mission in Afghanistan can’t change “from one day to the other,” its fighter jets must be able to bomb if necessary, he noted.
The decision follows the deaths of four Italian soldiers in war-ravaged Afghanistan on Saturday.
La Russa went on to say that the authorization will be given if the Italian parliament backs it.
“I want that decision to be either backed or changed by the relevant parliamentary commissions,” he concluded.
Italy has 3,500 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and has so far lost 34 troops there, with Italian leaders pledging they will start withdrawing troops next year.
NATO strategy for war-torn Afghanistan will be reviewed next week at a meeting in the Italian capital of Rome.
This article was posted: Monday, October 11, 2010 at 12:02 pm