Terras and Mihkelson to attend Afghanistan service
Lt. Gen. Riho Terras, chief of defense, and head of the Parliament's Foreign Committee, Marko Mihkelson, have traveled to London, where they will represent Estonia at a commemoration service for the Afghanistan conflict, held at the St Paul's Cathedral on March 13.
The ceremony will be attended by Queen Elizabeth II and many political leaders, and will mark the end of combat operations in Afghanistan, honor veterans and remember servicemen who lost their lives.
“The Afghan mission is of course our most complicated mission yet and one which sadly also cost the most lives. But Estonian Defense Forces members did prove their high level of professionalism and cooperation with allies. The strengthened relations with allies is an invaluable foundation for guaranteeing our own security in the increasingly complicated neighborhood,” Mihkelson said.
The first Estonian troops, a six-strong bomb disposal unit, arrived in Afghanistan in 2003. At the peak during the Afghan presidential elections in 2009, combat units and support forces included a total of 289 men. During the missions, nine Estonian soldiers lost their lives, 92 were injured in combat, and 59 in accidents and other situations. Of the injured, 32 have lasting injuries which limit their ability to work.