Estonia to Commit 20 Personnel on Limited Afghanistan Mission Starting 2015
Meeting in Brussels, NATO's defense ministers have hashed out plans to continue nation-building efforts in Afghanistan past next year's pullout. Details have emerged on Estonia's likely commitment to the extended military mission.
NATO's defense ministers met in Brussels this week and agreed that the cooperative ability developed in Afghanistan must be developed further. The new mission in Afghanistan will start in early 2015 once combat operations have ceased.
Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu said Estonia has the political will to take part and the operation will likely grow in number of participants.
"We are interested in the combat mission efforts made not going to waste. We are currently planning to be based in northern Afghanistan along with Nordic and German forces. It will likely be around 20 personnel, who will not be involved in combat but in a support and advisory role," Reinsalu said.
The defense ministers also stated an opinion on cyber-defense. NATO is planning to take on the role of coordinator of development of the field in all member states. Reinsalu said not all member states currently consider the field equally important, but added that there was no opposition to the idea.
"There should be a clear system of how member states come to one another's assistance and I very clearly stressed our interest in this regard. It is just as important as other military fields that there be training and constant practice. I think that Estonia can offer a training base for NATO cyber defense," the minister said.