Estonian Defence Minister: Estonia will Leave Afghanistan Together with its Allies

Tags: Estonia

Estonian Minister of Defence Urmas Reinsalu met with Major General Adrian Bradshaw, Deputy Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and James Cunningham, United States Ambassador to Afghanistan in Kabul September 9.

At the meeting with Major General Bradshaw, the discussion focused on the plans of the Command of ISAF for the following year and the future of military cooperation between Estonia and the UK.

"I concur with Major General Bradshaw’s assessment that, in order for the allies to hand over the responsibility for security to the Afghans entirely, the allies first have to be ready for a continued military contribution. We came to Afghanistan with our strategic allies and we will also leave here with them. Therefore, it is necessary to continue to contribute in Afghanistan in 2013 at the current levels, that is, with up to 170 military servicemen," said Reinsalu.

The Deputy Commander of ISAF also thanked Estonia for contributing two helicopter pilots from the Estonian Air Force, who will begin their service as part of the United States units in eastern Afghanistan this week.

At the meeting, United States Ambassador Cunningham outlined the political situation in Afghanistan and the potential developments over the next few years. Discussion also addressed a prospective military contribution by the allied forces after 2014, which is going to be discussed at the NATO defence ministers meeting in October.

Furthermore, Minister of Defence Reinsalu hosted a dinner for the Estonian servicemen and civil officials working in Kabul.

Minister of Defence Reinsalu returned to Estonia yesterday evening after a three-day visit to Afghanistan.