Stenbock House, 7 December 2017 – At the cabinet meeting, the Government decided to support the proposal of Jüri Luik, Minister of Defence, to apply for a mandate from the Riigikogu to increase the military contribution of Estonia in Afghanistan. Estonia wishes to increase its contribution due to the increased needs connected to staffing the NATO Resolute Support mission and the cooperation proposals submitted to Estonia by several allies.
The increase in contribution requires a mandate from the Riigikogu. In the near future, the Ministry of Defence will submit a draft to the Government to send a unit of up to one infantry platoon to Afghanistan. The mandate will be asked to send up to 40 members of the defence forces to Afghanistan for one year.
“Estonia’s contribution to missions abroad is also a contribution to our own security. Every smallest detail counts – this is true not only in our domestic trainings, but also in international missions with our allies, where the contribution of each professional man and woman is invaluable,” said Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.
According to the proposal of the Minister of Defence, the members of the Estonian Defence Forces would join the United Kingdom unit with a task to ensure force protection in the Kabul region to the allied soldiers providing training for Afghanistan’s security authorities.
“We can see that in addition to the increased presence of our allies in Estonia, most of whom are soldiers from the United Kingdom, we need additional opportunities for cooperation with the UK in shared military operations. In the last meeting of the Ministers of Defence of NATO, the complete staffing of the Resolute Support was consensually emphasised. Therefore, we consider it very important in terms of security policy to increase our contribution to the cooperation with the British forces for a short time during this operation,” said Jüri Luik, Minister of Defence.
Most members of NATO have announced increasing their contribution in Afghanistan.
The extension of the current participation of Estonia in the Resolute Support mission has passed the first reading in the Riigikogu. Within this, there are plans for 2018 to continue contributing in Northern Afghanistan, where Germany is the framework nation, with a four-member mine clearance team, as well as with one staff officer. In accordance with the National Defence Act, the Minister of Defence will decide on the participation of the Estonian Defence Forces in operations abroad, doing so based on a mandate from the Riigikogu.