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Acting head of US border service visits Estonia

McAleenan (right) and Vaher (left) at a border checkpoint.
McAleenan (right) and Vaher (left) at a border checkpoint. Source: (PPA)

Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Kevin McAleenan visited Estonia on Friday. McAleenan was given a tour of the border checkpoints at Narva and Piusa and inspected a training exercise conducted in collaboration with instructors of U.S. special forces.

On Friday McAleenan visited the border checkpoint at Narva as well as the border guard base at Piusa, one of the most important bases on Estonia's land border, spokespeople for the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board said. McAleenan was given an overview of the international training exercise of rapid reaction forces taking place at Piusa.

In the exercise, instructors from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection as well as U.S. special forces shared their knowledge and skills with the rapid response forces of the Police and Border Guard Board and neighboring countries' police and border guard forces.

Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt (SDE) noted that the cooperation with the United States had always been very good, and a genuine example of this was the training of the Border Guard’s rapid reaction forces under the guidance of U.S. instructors. “If at the turn of the century we spoke of opening the borders, then now sadly we are speaking of building up and strengthening borders. But these borders must not separate good people,” Anvelt said.

According to Elmar Vaher, director general of the Police and Border Guard Board, the Estonian rapid reaction forces had received excellent training, but special operations could be successful only if the forces had gone through it repeatedly. “The chance to practice special operations with colleagues from neighboring countries has been a golden opportunity for our rapid reaction forces,” Vaher said.

During the month-long training exercise, the tactical performance of the rapid reaction forces is tested. The aim of the training is to enhance the reaction capacity of different countries in the event of possible incidents along the national border.

With more than 60,000 employees, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the largest law enforcement agency and the second-largest revenue collecting service in the U.S. federal government. Its three core missions are counterterrorism, border security, and trade enforcement.

The training of rapid reaction forces is taking place in association with the Police and Border Guard Board, the U.S. Embassy, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and special forces of the U.S. armed forces and their instructors.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS

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