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Stolen keys delay start of military mission

Poland's 1,200 troops assigned to NATO forces in Afghanistan will not achieve full combat readiness for up to several weeks due to stolen vehicle keys, the defense ministry said Thursday.

"We had been told a 10 percent theft rate was likely in convoys brought in from Pakistan, but we had not expected the spare car keys to go missing," defense ministry spokesman Jaroslaw Rybak told news channel TVN24. "We shall have to send away for spares, so it may take from several days to several weeks for our contingent to become combat ready."

According to media reports, Polish troops taking part in NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan have been assigned to patrol the mountainous border area with Pakistan to search for Taliban guerrilla activity.

The military vehicles used by Polish forces include Poland's Land Rover-like Honkers and U.S.-built Humvees.

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