NATO agrees on timetable for handing over responsibility for security in Afghanistan
Rahvusvahelised uudised 22 May 2012  EWR
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Chicago, 21 May 2012 - NATO member states agreed at the summit ending today in Chicago that by the end of 2014 local security forces will be responsible for security in Afghanistan and that NATO will end the active phase of its military operation.

Until that goal is achieved, NATO forces continue to be combat-ready and carry out combat operations as needed. NATO will continue to have a supporting role even after 2014.

“Estonia will also continue to contribute to Afghanistan along with its allies as long as is necessary and expected,” said Prime Minister Andrus Ansip at the meeting of NATO’s heads of government and heads of state on the topic of Afghanistan.

The decision made by NATO’s allies and coalition partners to support the Afghanistan-led process in transferring security from coalition forces to the Afghanistan government dates from the 2010 summit in Lisbon. “As allies, we will honour this agreement and obligation, and we proceed from the principle that we will exit Afghanistan together,” said Ansip.

“Our company in Afghanistan is an integral unit and in discussions on withdrawal from Afghanistan we must consider both our allies’ plans and the security of our soldiers: withdrawal of combat units piecemeal may harm our soldiers’ security. But NATO has resolved that its allies’ troops will no longer participate in combat from mid-2013 on, and that they will begin supporting the Afghanistan security forces,\" said Minister of Defence Urmas Reinsalu, who said this was the best way to ensure that the control of the transition process is handed over to Afghanistan’s forces.

The transition to the handover is already in progress. Currently about 75 percent of Afghanistan’s population lives in areas that will be transferred to the control of Afghan security forces. Afghanistan’s national security forces have sufficient numbers and capability and will continue to grow.

Estonia stands prepared even after 2014 to support Afghanistan, but the precise means and resources will depend on the mission and the actions of the Afghanistan government. “Estonia is prepared to provide 500,000 US dollars in support to Afghanistan’s security forces, preferably through the existing financing mechanisms, in the period from 2015 to 2017,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet.

He said Estonia would continue to support Afghanistan with humanitarian missions and development cooperation in the field of health care.

Government of Estonia Press Release
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