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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: Afghanistan Needs Support of International Community Even After 2014

10.11.2011

No. 353-E

At the joint session of the national defence and foreign affairs committees of Riigikogu, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet spoke about developments in Afghanistan, extending Estonia’s mission there, and aid activities to help build up the country.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, will continue to need the support and know-how of the international community even after the end of 2014. “Afghanistan is facing many problems that are tied to, for example, security, weak state establishments, corruption, narcotics, and human rights. Afghanistan still needs international support to reach a point where the country is better able to come to terms with these challenges on its own,” Paet asserted.

In talking about aid activities geared towards Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Paet said that Estonia has gradually increased its contribution to development co-operation, sending police officers to the EU Police Mission EUPOL as well as the NATO Training Mission. Our health care expert will continue to work on the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Helmand Province and our special mission will remain in Kabul. “Health care projects are being carried out in Helmand and education and good administrative practice projects are being implemented in Kabul,” Paet added.

Foreign Minister Paet said that the most important development in Afghanistan is the process of transferring responsibility for security from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to local forces, which began in spring of this year and should be completed by the end of 2014. “This is more than just a defence issue - it affects the development of the country as a whole. In order for the transfer process to run smoothly it is important to increase peoples’ trust in their country’s security forces,” said Paet.

Paet emphasised that Afghanistan’s future development is also very closely tied to the development of other countries in the region. “Afghanistan’s future does not depend only on domestic developments, but is dependent on how relations in the region as a whole develop,” he added.

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