During their meeting today in Brussels, the foreign ministers of the NATO member states and other countries contributing to the operation in Afghanistan emphasised that the transfer of responsibility for security to the Afghan security forces is taking place according to plan. The foreign ministers confirmed that a presence will be maintained in Afghanistan after 2014, when the ISAF operation is to end. The extent of this presence and support will be established during the NATO summit in Chicago.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet acknowledged the process to transfer security thus far. “The second wave of the security handover announced by Afghan President Hamid Karzai will place responsibility for about half the population of Afghanistan in the hands of Afghan forces, which is significant,” he stated.
Paet stated that one of the factors that allows for responsibility to be handed over is the effective training of the Afghan army and police forces, so NATO and its partners must continue to make a serious contribution to this area. “It’s simple – the earlier Afghans begin to lead and take responsibility for these processes, the better. It provides support to our plan to transfer responsibility gradually,” he added.
Paet stated that Estonia plans to continue its work in Afghanistan in 2012 through the NATO training mission and the special mission in Kabul and by contributing its defence forces members and a health care expert, who works in Helmand Province. “Afghanistan will remain one of Estonia’s development co-operation partner countries after 2014,” he added.
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