Afghanistan, Camp Bastion, 11 December 2006 – Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and Commander of the Defence Forces Major General Ants Laaneots, met with Estonian soldiers serving in southern Afghanistan and thanked them for their work in the mission.
According to the Prime Minister, the Estonian mission to Afghanistan is also a mission of Estonian security and the soldiers' work is fully supported. “I am proud that our country is represented here, on our frontline, by such a brave unit as you. I thank you for your work,” said Ansip to the Estonian soldiers.
Both Mr Ansip and Mr Laaneots wished the participants in the mission “soldier’s luck”. “You have been very brave. You are in small numbers here and your professional training offers you a higher level of safety”, said the Prime Minister.
According to the Prime Minister, the soldiers’ work in the mission is unquestionably difficult but very necessary for Estonia and our national security. “This is Estonia’s choice – Estonia wants to do this work,” said Ansip, referring to Lennart Meri’s words that security policy is primarily based on will.
“If one’s will to safeguard freedom and, if need be, to fight for freedom is strong, the adversary’s readiness to attack is that much smaller. I can see this will in you. Your service has made us trustworthy partners,” said Ansip.
According to the Prime Minister, the experience that the Estonian soldiers obtain during the mission to Afghanistan is priceless in terms of future service to their homeland. Practical work with other NATO states and commands must also be highly appreciated. In particular, Ansip underlined good cooperation with Great Britain, which is also testified to by the meeting of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who visited Afghanistan a week and a half ago, with the Estonian soldiers serving there.
The Prime Minister gave the Estonian soldiers head lamps for personal use, which normally belong to special equipment.
The commander of the Estonian Defence Forces contingent serving in Afghanistan is Lieutenant Colonel Vahur Karus. At present, the largest units of the Estonian Defence Forces serving in Afghanistan are Motorised Infantry Company ESTCOY-3 with 81 members, led by Major Leo Käige, 15-member EOD team EOD-10 lead by Captain Üllar Luhaste, and a 10-member rear support team consisting of logistics.
Government Communication Office Briefing Room