Baltics support new Afghanistan strategy

  • 2009-12-07
  • Oskars Magone

Drastically more US soldiers will be sent to the country in an effort to bring peace ahead of a troop pullout. (photo by Tech. Sgt. Francisco V. Govea II, US military)

RIGA - The three Baltic states have expressed their support for the new plan outlined by US President Barack Obama for the war in Afghanistan.

The plan says that the US will send 30,000 more troops in 2010 to the country ahead of a pullout that is planned in mid-2011. A number of NATO countries have also pledged to increase their troop levels to compliment the US surge.

Estonia, which has approxiimately 165 troops in the country, will send a IED disposal team next year.

“Estonia plans to increase its civil contribution in the next year, and we plan to send a third Estonian police officer to join the two already participating in the European Union police mission EUPOL Afghanistan,” Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet was reported as saying by the Estonian Free Press.

Lithuania, meanwhile, will go ahead with plans for a slight troop increase. Lithuanian officials say, however, that the increase is not related to the US troop surge.

The country will send approximately 20 more soldiers to replace a contigent of Croation soldiers that are rotating out of the country.

"I have said before that we will need to replace the departing Croatians starting in spring," Jukneviciene told the Baltic News Service.

Latvian officials praised the US president's decision but said that in the current economic situation the country is unable to increase its commitment.