The Estonian government on Thursday approved the extension of the mission of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo by a period of one year.
The government gave its nod to a motion to extend by one year the participation of the EDF in the Resolute Support NATO follow-up mission in Afghanistan with up to six personnel, and with up to 12 personnel for a period of no more than one month during troop rotation.
According to the motion, Estonia will continue next year to deploy a four-strong EOD team to Northern Afghanistan, where Germany is the framework nation, as well as have one staff officer serve at Resolute Support.
The budget of the Ministry of Defence sets aside €281,772 for the EDF's mission in Afghanistan in 2018.
The government also endorsed a motion according to which the EDF will once again participate in the international military operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq with up to 10 active service personnel next year.
The motion stated that Estonia is prepared, if necessary and possible, to increase its participation in the operation but it would remain within the quota. It also says that Estonian active service personnel will not participate in military operations on the territory of Syria. The main task of the Estonian defense personnel is to train the Iraqi security forces.
The budget of the Ministry of Defence sets aside €478,823 for costs related to the operation in Iraq.
Estonia has been participating in Operation Inherent Resolve since August 2016, when a six-strong training team began serving as part of the Danish contingent in the Anbar Province of Iraq. In addition, one Estonian senior officer is serving in Baghdad in a multinational military-strategic team, which advises Iraqi ministries and security forces.
The Estonian government likewise approved the extension of the participation of up to three Estonian active service personnel in the NATO KFOR operation in Kosovo until the end of 2018.
The Estonian personnel will serve at KFOR headquarters in Pristina.
NATO KFOR's mission is to contribute to maintaining a safe and secure environment in Kosovo, to support the development of a stable and peaceful Kosovo as well as the development of professional, democratic and multi-ethnic security structures in Kosovo. Its basic missions include crisis response, assistance to civilian authorities in responding to natural and other disasters, explosive ordnance disposal and civilian protection tasks.
Editor: Aili Vahtla