105 Estonian troops to return from Afghanistan

  • 2008-11-24
  • In cooperation with BNS
TALLINN-The 105-strong Estonian ESTCOY-6 infantry company andthe national support element NSE-5 returned to Estonia.

The company, headed by Maj. Ain Tiidrus and the national support elementunder the command of Lt. Tanel Kapper, served alongside a British-led battle troopsin the HelmandProvincein Southern Afghanistan.

The soldiers returning from the mission were greeted by chief of staff Col.Neeme Vali presented the troop with the awards they have merited, Defense Forcesheadquarters reported.

During their six-month mission, ESCOY-6 performed various combat duties andwas repeatedly in armed contact with rebel forces. Together with the U.S. marines,the unit carried out five company-scale operations.

Before their return home, the service of Estonian soldiers was recognized by NATO medals at CampBastion. The medals were presentedby Col. Martin Smith, commander of the South Battle Group and deputy commanderof the HelmandProvince security assistance forces.

Estcoy-6 together with its support element flew to Afghanistan onMay 8. This marked the first mortar platoon in the composition of the Estonian contracted infantry company.

The Estonian defense forceshave taken part in the operation in Afghanistan since 2003. With apersonnel of nearly 150, it is the biggest foreign mission of the defenseforces. In addition to the infantry company and the support element, it alsoincludes the cross service team at KabulAirport and staffofficers in the allied forces' headquarters.