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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: Afghanistan Will Remain in NATO’s Field of View For a Long Time

25.04.2013

At their meeting in Brussels today, the foreign ministers of NATO and the countries contributing to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) discussed the situation in Afghanistan. The summer of this year marks an important milestone for ISAF, as its role will shift to being a support for the Afghan security forces. Afghanistan’s own security forces are already leading 80% of operations, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said.

The foreign minister asserted that the political perspective is becoming increasingly important as a key factor in the success of the ISAF operation. “Handing over responsibility for security has so far gone according to plan and the ISAF countries have started pulling out their forces. Therefore it is becoming more important to ensure the population’s feeling of security –NATO will not leave Afghanistan. We are not in a hurry to leave and we will reinforce what we have accomplished there,” said Paet.

Estonia also has long-term plans in connection with Afghanistan. “When the ISAF operation ends in 2014, Estonia will continue to contribute to Afghanistan’s development. First of all we plan to participate in NATO’s new training mission, we will support the development of the Afghan security forces for the years 2015-2017, and Afghanistan will remain an important target country for our development aid,” said the foreign minister.

NATO has already started planning its new training and advising mission, but Paet stated that NATO will also monitor what happens in Afghanistan more broadly – the 2014 presidential elections and developments connected to institutional capabilities. At the end of 2014 NATO will not close the Afghanistan book, it will simply turn a new page, the foreign minister added.
 

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