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Czech MPs back government plans to boost army’s foreign missions

The Czech lower house of parliament approved government plans to raise the number of troops on army foreign missions on Friday, with Prime Minister Andrej Babis’s party pushing the mandate through despite protests from the Communist Party, Reuters reports. Babis is counting on support from the Communist Party for a new government he is forming with the Social Democrats. Some Communist officials have warned that the party’s 15 lawmakers will not back that coalition if the troops are sent to the Baltic states. The missions’ mandate increases Czech troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and other locations. It also extends a deployment in the Baltics, where up to 290 troops will join a NATO operation strengthening its eastern flank near Russia.