Kuwaiti Defense Minister: Increase of American troops - part of joint exercises

Published September 30th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

The increased number of United States troops in Kuwait is in the context of "pre-scheduled exercises" with Kuwaiti forces, Defense Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al-Sabah emphasized Sunday.  


The minister told reporters before leaving for Tehran that the exercises were to raise the preparedness of the Kuwaiti armed forces. "And they are pre-scheduled exercises," he said, according to AFP.  


The minister, additionally, stressed that Kuwait, a key US ally was able "to confront any missile attack," amidst fears in the emirate that Baghdad could launch biological or chemical weapons at it, in retaliation for a US attack.  


"We're capable, but have to prepare for any possibilities," he added. "We're not part of the current crisis but we are ready to deter any attack against us," the minister also said, explaining Kuwait has enough Patriot missiles to foil attacks.  


An estimated 10,000 US troops are currently based in Kuwait and the Pentagon has confirmed that more military equipment, including tracked combat vehicles, was being shipped there for Operation Desert Spring, a month-long exercise involving over 2,000 US troops. (Albawaba.com)

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