Bulgaria Ok about Soldiers About-Face

Politics | April 17, 2004, Saturday // 00:00

Bulgarian soldiers in Iraq, who have filed requests to return home, will face no punishments.

A total of 20 soldiers have filed requests to quit Bulgaria's infantry unit in Karbala and return home. As some of them are still likely to change their minds the Chief of the General Staff General Kolev has recommended a meeting with an expert. The special commission, set up to review the requests, will come up with its decisions by April 20.

Defence Minister Snivarov assured on Saturday that the decision to leave the Iraqi unit will in no way affect the soldiers' careers.

He voiced doubts that the deployment of military forces in Iraq will be redundant by the end of 2005.

A total of 62 Bulgarian soldiers have quit the 480-strong replacement unit following the attack in the city of Karbala on December 27 last year. The attack wounded twenty-six and killed five Bulgarian soldiers, the country's first fatalities in Iraq.

The Bulgarian troops have been deployed in Iraq as part of the Polish-led multinational contingent.

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