No decisions made when Estonian troops will return from Afghanistan

EDF personnel  in Afghanistan.
EDF personnel in Afghanistan. Source: Ministry of Defence.

When Estonian troops currently serving in Afghanistan will return home after the signing of the U.S - Taliban peace deal at the weekend has not yet been decided, the Ministry of Defence told ERR on Monday.

"There is no specific timetable yet for the withdrawal of Estonian soldiers from Afghanistan," Karin Kivipõld, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said.

The Ministry of Defense said about 40 Estonian soldiers are participating in the U.S.-led operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan. The mission aims, through a strategic partnership with the Government of Afghanistan, to provide functional support to their security forces to build a more credible, capable and sustainable Afghan army and security force. 

Operation Resolute Support is a follow-up to Operation International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which Estonia also participated. Estonia participated in ISAF for 11 years (2003-2014).

"NATO's allies and partners in Afghanistan are based on the following principle: together, we started the operation, together, we decide on the conditions to change it, and together we come out," said Kivipõld. 

"The agreement between the US and the Taliban is an important step towards peace and stability in Afghanistan. Its main goal is to reduce violence in Afghanistan and to launch broad-based talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban," he added.

The agreement hopes to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan and the withdrawal of US and allied forces in exchange for Islamic security assurances and a promise to hold talks with the Afghan government over the country's future. 

The US and its allies plan to withdraw all their troops from Afghanistan within 14 months if the Taliban adheres to the peace agreement, Washington and Kabul said in a joint statement at the weekend.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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