Friday, May 8, 2009

Estonian Government approves doubling troops in Afghanistan for safeguarding the elections

The Estonian Government approved the draft resolution of the Riigikogu which would double the number of Estonian soldiers in Afghanistan. Additional Estonian troops would participate in the safeguarding of the elections in Afghanistan in August.

Government also approved the draft resolution with which the the Estonian Defence Forces would participate in the 13th rotation of the NATO Response Force (NRF). According to the International Military Co-operation Act, the Riigikogu decides on the use of the Defence Forces in an international military operation. In order to adopt the draft resolutions approved by the government today, a majority of votes in favour are required from the Parliament.

According to the draft “Use of the Estonian Defence Forces at the provision of security during the Afghan presidential elections,” Estonia would send an infantry company of up to 140 men to Afghanistan to provide security for the presidential and provincial council elections on 20 August. Their task would be to assist Afghanistan’s police and army in providing security during the elections. The Estonian unit would operate in the Helmand Province, in Southern-Afghanistan, and would be stationed there from the 1 July to 1 December 2009.

To provide security for the elections, additional units will be sent to Afghanistan from more that 20 countries participating in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), including Estonian neighbours Finland, Sweden, Lithuania and Poland. Today, the Government also approved the draft with which the Defence Forces would contribute to the 13th rotation of the NATO Response Force, with the mine hunter EMS Sakala and the Movement Control Unit (MOVCON), in the second half-year of 2009.

According to the draft, the mine hunter Sakala, with a crew of up to 45, would sail from 1 August to 28 November in the membership of the Standing NATO Response Force Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) and would attend the performance of mine clearance operations or be in five-day readiness in Estonia. The task of the 10-member MOVCON unit is to plan, organise and coordinate the storage of the equipment arriving at the port or airport or transport to the destination of the equipment.

The unit would be in five-day readiness in Estonia during the readiness period of NRF-13. The National defence development plan for 2009-2018 foresees the contribution of Estonia’s capabilities and units in foreign missions carried out by NATO, by the European Union and/or in case of a coalition of the willing. Its contribution to foreign operations helps Estonia to reach defence policy goals and is also a significant catalyst for the EDF and the Defence League.

1 comment: