Foreign Minister Urmas Paet’s visit to Afghanistan continued on Tuesday, 10 March. Paet visited the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Laskar Gah´, the capital of Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, where he met with Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) General Gordon Messenger as well as Estonian soldiers serving in Afghanistan.
At the meeting with General Gordon Messenger, the topic of discussion was the security situation in Helmand Province and in southern Afghanistan in general. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet confirmed that Estonia will continue to support the government of Afghanistan through the ISAF. “We have increased our mandate to 170 Defence Forces members, and we have a plan to add new capabilities this year,” stated Paet.
General Messenger expressed high praise for the work of the Estonian Defence Forces members in Helmand Province. “The Estonian soldiers do very good work on a highly professional level and fulfil the most complicated tasks,” he said. Foreign Minister Paet stated that military co-operation with the United Kingdom has been very good.
The foreign minister met with Estonia’s infantry unit Estcoy-7 in Lashkar Gah´ and thanked the soldiers for their contribution to improving the security situation in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. “The Estonian soldiers serving in Afghanistan are not only fighting to ensure stability and security in Afghanistan, but also for our own nation’s security. Estonia participates in the stabilisation and reconstruction of Afghanistan and in other foreign missions based on its own security concerns,” he added. “The fight against the spread of narcotics is also very important. I highly value the strong group spirit and excellent work of the soldiers serving in the Afghanistan mission,” said Paet.
In co-operation with Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR), Paet presented the soldiers with the TV miniseries “Tuulepealne maa”, as well as books and other Estonian films. Most of the Estonian soldiers serving in the Afghanistan ISAF mission are stationed in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan.
Foreign Minister Paet has plans to meet with Deputy Governor of Helmand Province Abdul Satar Miszakwali and the chief doctor of Bost Hospital Dr. Enaytullah Ghafary in Lashkar Gah´.
Estonian Defence Forces members in Afghanistan are highly valued