Arriving on his first, two-day official visit to Estonia, Afghan President Hamid Karzai was welcomed Monday with a ceremony at the Estonian president's residence in Kadriorg and later dined with local political leaders, ETV reported.
Karzai will take part in official meetings Tuesday with President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and Speaker of Parliament Ene Ergma.
"Afghanistan recognizes and will remember the contribution of your men and women in uniform and the civilians to our country. We have also, Mr. President, gone almost through the same currents of history. We have strived, fought by all means, to preserve our independence," Karzai said Monday.
Ilves reflected on Kabul as a once blooming, peaceful city in the 1960s.
The Estonian president said: "That is the ancient, high-cultured and proud Afghanistan, which has been overshadowed in our view today by the wars of the last 35 years. Here I would like to mention my own memories from the fall of 2010, when I visited Kabul, Lashkar Gah and the Wahid patrol base where Estonian soldiers were serving. The meeting at the time confirmed Afghanistan's clear desire to attain a stable and secure country for its citizens and neighbors."
He continued: "If we speak of Afghanistan's future, we see several signs of hope. The expansion of education and medicine to regions where schools and doctors have been lacking. A sprouting economy. New infrastructure projects. Many opponents of yesterday have given up armed resistance. The readiness and capacity of Afghanistan's army and police to independently control an increasingly large territory."
Afghanistan's foreign minister, Zalmai Rassoul, is also in Tallinn today, where he will meet with his Estonian counterpart, Urmas Paet.