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Foreign Minister Paet in Kabul: NATO Allies Must Make Afghanistan Decisions Together

11.01.2011

No. 10-E

At his meeting with leader of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) General David Petraeus in Kabul, Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet emphasised that Estonia feels it is essential to follow the principle that the NATO nations decided together to start the mission in Afghanistan, and the decision to leave must be made together as well. “The nations that are responsible for areas in which responsibility will be transferred to the Afghans earlier shouldn’t necessarily leave, but rather continue contributing in other regions or increase their contribution to training,” said Paet.

Foreign Minister Paet recognised General Petraeus for the success of the international forces in hindering the activities of the Taliban in the central part of Helmand. “The nearly 30 000 additional US soldiers brought to Helmand and Kandahar have allowed us to focus more than before on protecting the citizens and carrying out large-scale operations in Helmand,” said Foreign Minister Paet.

General Petraeus thanked Estonia for making a contribution in an intense security situation. “Taking into account the size of Estonia’s population, Estonia is one of our most significant partners,” he added.

At his meeting with chief of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Staffan de Mistura, Foreign Minister Paet focused on the hope that civil and development aspects would not be placed on the back burner during the process of transferring responsibility for security. “Nations would prefer to address simpler problems, so certain sectors have a disproportionate amount of support and this in turn facilitates corruption. At the same time, some sectors are underfunded,” Paet noted at the meeting. “It is of the utmost importance to focus on building up the capabilities of Afghanistan’s local governments,” he added.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry/

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