Latvia, like other Allies, has withdrawn its troops from Afghanistan, putting an end to Latvia’s approximately 18-year participation in operations in the country, the National Armed Forces (NAF) reveals.
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NAF Commander Leonīds Kalniņš acknowledged that Afghanistan, Iraq, North Africa and the Balkans have left deep traces in the history of the Latvian Armed Forces. Both with a huge contribution from the state point of view in these regions, and with thorough experience for our soldiers, which in turn contributed to the increase of Latvia’s defense capabilities.
“We cannot fail to mention those who lost their lives in these operations, leaving scars in the hearts of their loved ones. In general, the main essence of any international operation is giving, not taking, and Latvia’s contribution is significant and our soldiers have done it with respect for culture, its people. and have always held the name and flag of Latvia high, “Kalnins pointed out.
According to the information on the AM website, the decision to establish the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) was taken at the Bonn Conference in December 2001 after the overthrow of the Islamist Taliban regime.
August 11, 2003 NATO undertook to lead these forces.
The International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan was deployed in February 2002. In February 2003, the Netherlands and Germany took over the command of these forces, offering Latvia the opportunity to consider including their troops in their membership.
The Saeima agreed to such a proposal and at the end of February 2003, a medical unit of the National Armed Forces, eight soldiers – two doctors, four paramedics and two sanitary drivers – went to Afghanistan. In total, several thousand NAF specialists have served in Afghanistan since 2003.
As early as mid-2013, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) transferred responsibility for security throughout the country to the Afghan National Security Forces, thus focusing on their training.
The international training operation “Resolute Support” became operational on 1 January 2015. Since its inception, Latvia has sent a contingent of up to 30 troops to Afghanistan to participate in Operation Resolute Support, while by the time Latvia was withdrawn from Afghanistan, the Latvian troops had shrunk to eight specialists.
In Afghanistan, four NAF soldiers lost their lives in about 18 years, but several other NAF specialists were injured. During these years, Latvian soldiers have repeatedly stood out with their heroism and their skills, which have been valued by the Allies.
It has already been reported that the United States officially began withdrawing its remaining forces from Afghanistan on May 1, preparing to put an end to its nearly 20-year presence in the country, but at the same time raising concerns about future developments in Afghanistan following the departure of international forces.
At the same time, the NATO Operation Resolute Support is being withdrawn from Afghanistan.