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Estonia Supports Transferring Responsibility for Security to Afghanistan


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At a meeting of the nations participating in the Afghanistan mission held in Berlin, Foreign Minister Paet stated that transferring responsibility for security over to Afghanistan by the end of 2014 can only take place if all nations fulfil their promises to contribute to the development of Afghanistan.

According to Paet, the decision to add Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, to the list of the first regions where responsibility for security will be transferred to Afghanistan is testament to the fact that progress is possible even in very complicated security situations. “The activity of the Estonian, British and Danish forces in Helmand and Lashkar Gah has been proof of that,” he added.

The foreign minister noted that the attack on a UN representation in Mazar-e-Sharif – another location where the security transfer is to take place first – demonstrated how complicated the road ahead will be. “This incident proves that the transition process is conditional,” he said.

Paet stated that it is essential to maintain solidarity during the transfer of security responsibilities. “The ISAF mission has meant working together towards a common goal for a long time, and that solidarity must continue. The nations that have ended their direct contribution should find a new way to express their support, for example carrying out training or contributing in some other way,” he said. Paet emphasised that it is also very important to strengthen Afghanistan’s own national security forces.

Paet asserted that Estonia will maintain its military contribution in Helmand Province on the same level and without limitations for as long as it is necessary. “In addition to the 160 Defence Forces members that are already there, in April a five-member surgical team will be sent there for a period of four months,” said Paet. The foreign minister added that Estonia also contributes to the training of the Afghan police force with eight police instructors. “Afghanistan will remain a development co-operation priority partner for Estonia in the coming years. The projected support for Afghanistan in 2011 totals 400 000 euros,” he added.

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