New EDF infantry platoon starts service in Afghanistan ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Kabul street scene in October 2018, when defense minister Jüri Luik (Isamaa) visited Estonian troops in Afghanistan.
Kabul street scene in October 2018, when defense minister Jüri Luik (Isamaa) visited Estonian troops in Afghanistan. Source: Ministry of Defence

A new Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) infantry platoon has officially taken over from its predecessor in Kabul, Afghanistan, for a tour which will last until the end of November.

The platoon, ESTPLA-31, is formed from elements of the EDF's Scouts Battalion and, together with other coalition units, is tasked with ensuring the security of instructors guiding the armed forces and government agencies of Afghanistan, EDF spokespersons told BNS.

ESTPLA-31 has already been in Kabul for two weeks, familiarizing itself with the environment, and has now fully taken over responsibility from the outgoing ESTPLA-29 infantry platoon. ESTPLA-29 helped the new contingent adapt to its tasks, and final exercises were carried out jointly before the full handover and acceptance of responsibility, at the end of last week.

A three-member national support element, tasked with supporting the Estonian units in carrying out daily tasks, has also started its tour of duty, replacing an outgoing unit.

EDF members have been serving in Afghanistan with NATO since 2003, and Estonian personnel have been involved in NATO's Operation Resolute Support, since its inception in January 2015.

The objective of Resolute Support is to provide training, advice and assistance for Afghan security forces and institutions in their conflict with extremist groups such as the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and ISIS-K.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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