Last Afghanistan Infantry Company Ships Out
The Estonian infantry company, Estcoy-17, has flown out from Ämari air base en route to Afghanistan, where it will be the last full rotation of troops in the country's contribution to the NATO-led ISAF operation.
Accompanied by the logistical support unit NSE-16, the company wil begin a six month stint in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province.
Defense Forces commander in chief Maj. Gen. Riho Terras urged the contingent to keep up its vigilance.
"The withdrawal from Afghanistan is important for the entire ISAF and requires even more attention and a steady focus than before," said Terras.
"Trust in your superior officers and give your comrades a sense of security. Experience in Afghanistan has taught us to value brotherhood, [...] trust and honesty."
Also gathered at the air base were UK Ambassador to Estonia Christopher Bruce Holtby and military attaches from key allies, the commander of the Army Col. Artur Tiganik and commander of the 1st Infantry Brigade Lt. Col. Aron Kalmus.
The commander of the contingent is Lt. Col. Maidu Allikas, while the Estcoy-17 infantry company, the most prominent single element of the force, is Maj. Viljar Laaneste. Logistical support is under the command of Lt. Rodion Sorokin.
Estcoy-17 will be based at Camp Bastion and is about 150 strong.
Estonia has started withdrawing vehicles and weaponry from the country, with the first Sisu XA-180 armored personnel carriers having made it as far as the port of Karachi.