Task Force Helmand welcomes a new Estonian company
A transfer of authority ceremony was held in Camp Bastion this week where the 11th rotation of Estonians in Afghanistan took over the responsibility from the previous rotation. Colonel Andrew Jackson, the deputy commander of Task Force Helmand was also present in the ceremony, writes Captain Karin Kanarik, Estonian Press Officer.
“We greatly value the contribution that the soldiers from Estonia make. They are terrific soldiers, they have really got the area at the patrol base Wahid under control. And they provided magnificent support to both, the 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment and now to 42 Commando Royal Marines Regiment as part of 3 Brigade”, said Colonel Jackson. “ We wish those who are leaving a very safe trip home and we welcome those, who just arrived and look forward to tackling many challenges with them over the months to come. It will be a difficult road, we will find lots of challenges but I am sure, that together, in the spirit of coalition operations we are able to overcome all those challenges”, he added.
“We became a really good team during the months we served together. Our main task – to maintain stability in the area of responsibility was achieved, and I thank you for this! ” said Lieutenant Colonel. Viktor Kalnitski, ESTCOY-11 commander. “All members of the contingent performed their duties perfectly and your dedication created good preconditions for the success of the operation and ensuring the overall service,” he added.
The Estonian contingent in Afghanistan consists of an infantry company with armoured personnel carriers , a National Support Element , a close protection team in Kabul and staff officers. The main tasks of the previous company, ESTCOY-11, were to keep the area of responsibility and provide security to the local population. Additional tasks of the company were to develop and train the Afghan National Security Forces, to support the reconstruction efforts and to keep the area clear from IEDs. During its deployment ESTCOY-11 had 73 different fire contacts, found and disposed of 25 IEDs, and also found dozens of caches containing various weapons, ammunition, communications equipment and resources to manufacture IEDs.
ESTCOY-11 participated in one brigade operation and in a number of battle group operations. In addition to this they supported operations of three other battle groups and carried out several company-level operations.
During its six month tour ESTCOY-11 expanded the secure zone in their area of responsibility, to ensure the safety of local residents. ESTCOY-11 saw a noticeable development of the Afghan National Army units and growth of their professionalism. In addition, local police forces made a major step forward in the way that they were finally able to plan and manage joint patrols with ESTCOY. Local residents were very satisfied with the security offered by the Estonian infantry company, local army and police. The previous contingent will be back in Estonia by the end of this week.
Estcoy-12, led by Major Martin Kukk, took over the responsibility in Patrol Base Wahid and the infantry company is supported by the Estonian logistics serving in Camp Bastion. The 11th rotation of Estonians in Afghanistan is led overall by Lieutenant Colonel Anto Kergand.