Prime Minister Jüri Ratas in NATO-related Afghanistan visit

Prime minister Jüri Ratas (Centre).
Prime minister Jüri Ratas (Centre). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) started a two-day visit to Afghanistan Monday. The trip focuses on Estonian military missions in that country, as well as Afghanistan's own development. Ratas will be accompanied by Maj. Gen. Martin Herem, chief of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF).

The prime minister is set to meet President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghanī in Kabul on Monday, as well as U.S. Gen. Austin S. Miller and Sir Nicholas Kay, NATO's Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan, appointed in December last year.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Ratas and Maj. Gen Herem will attend an acquaint, focused on the work and activities of EDF personnel participating in the military operation in Afghanistan. A planned meet with the Kabul Security Force and the leadership of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is also scheduled for Tuesday, according to a government press release.

Forty-two EDF personnel plus one Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) representatives are currently serving in NATO's Afghanistan mission, predominantly in the capital, Kabul, with a four-member mine clearance team stationed in Mazar-i-Sharif, northern Afghanistan.

The EDF infantry unit operates in Kabul as part of the U.K.-led Kabul security forces.

NATO forces have been operating in Afghanistan as part of a support and training mission from 2015. More than 17,000 defense personnel from 39 NATO Allies and partner nations currently participate in the mission, which aims to train and assist the Afghan security forces and institutions, thereby contributing to the reconstruction of Afghanistan and strengthening stability in the region.

Estonia has supported Afghanistan in development cooperation, to the tune of €11.3 million since 2009.

Estonia currently has 110 defense personnel involved in international missions worldwide.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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