Albania has sent 30 soldiers to join the international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan in the hope their service might improve the European country's chances of one day entering NATO.
The soldiers departed today (Monday) for a 10-day training course in Turkey. They will then continue on to Kabul to join the rest of the international force.
The U-N mandated peacekeepers were deployed to the Kabul area after the United States and local opposition figures toppled the Taleban.
In November, top leaders of NATO countries will hold a summit in Prague and are expected to invite several east European countries to join the alliance. However, most experts say Albania is not expected to receive an invitation because the alliance does not yet consider it ready for NATO membership.