Early this morning, a non-commissioned officer of the Estonian Army, Junior Sergeant Kristjan Jalakas, died in Afghanistan. We accepted this message with deep sadness and would like to express our sincerest condolences to his family and friends.
A brave member of the Defence Forces, a son and a brother has left us – an Estonian soldier who gave his life for the security of all of us. Kristjan was devoted to his fatherland and defence of the state. It is tragic that his path in life had to end so early. Soldiers know the dangers of their profession, but it does not make any of the suffered losses easier.
International forces, including Estonia, are there in Afghanistan with the mandate of the UN Security Council and at the request of the Government of Afghanistan. It is our goal, together with our allies and the Afghans, to reach the point where the Afghans would be able to ensure the stability of their country on their own. We wish that Afghanistan would not become a threat and the people of Afghanistan could live their lives in peace – with hospitals to help those in need, children able to attend school and experience childhood without fearing these very same improvised explosive devices that are dangerous for our soldiers as well.
The countries participating in the Afghanistan mission have promised to significantly increase the number of their forces. This will increase security above the current level, thereby improving the situation in Afghanistan and allowing the Afghans to start ensuring the security of their country on their own. For the sake of this goal, we will remain in Afghanistan and perform our duties as an ally.
Estonia and its allies remember their heroes. Let us bow our heads together with the people of Estonia and the family and friends of Kristjan Jalakas.
Tallinn, 15 December 2009.
Joint condolences by the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defence