Estonia to train Afghan troops with US

  • 2009-02-19
  • TBT Staff in cooperation with BNS
TALLINN - The Estonian military has announced that it will work alongside the U.S. in training the Afghan armed forces and police.

There are currently no plans to extend the troops' mandate for training purposes.

Defense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates during an informal NATO defense ministers meeting in Krakow, Poland to discuss bilateral cooperation.

Initial plans are for Estonia to contribute five to seven personnel to the training teams, but their number mayincrease later on. It is not planned at present to extendthe defense forces' mandate in Afghanistan.

"(The plan) could be implemented already this year,"the minister told the Baltic News Service. He said the mission would begin sometime this year.

"Not before Midsummer Day, butdefinitely before Christmas," the minister said.

He described Estonian soldiers' role in the training as"practical, active military mentorship."