RIGA, October 3 (Itar-Tass) — The Latvian government on Tuesday extended the participation of the Latvian military contingent in the international operation in Afghanistan. The corresponding draft decision will be submitted for consideration to the country’s parliament, the Latvian Defence Ministry’s press service reported.
According to the decision of the UN Security Council, the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) is valid until October 13, 2012. No formal decision on the mandate extension has been made so far.
“Taking into account the priority of the ISAF operation for NATO, Latvia should continue to make its contribution within the alliance, confirming the reputation of a reliable ally. The participation of the National Armed Forces of Latvia in ISAF is associated with a variety of plans of the partner countries in Afghanistan,” the Defence Ministry said.
When the UN Security Council makes a decision to extend the mandate, the draft decision on the extension of Latvia’s participation in the mission will be immediately sent to the parliament for approval. So far, the exact date is not specified in the draft.
The International Security Assistance Force, often called the Coalition Forces, is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan that was established by the United Nations Security Council in December 2001 by Resolution 1386, as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement. Its main purpose is to train the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and assist Afghanistan in rebuilding key government institutions but is also engaged in the 2001-present war with insurgent groups.
Latvia takes part in the international operation in Afghanistan since 2003. The country’s parliament has repeatedly rejected the proposal of the Russian-speaking opposition on the withdrawal of the Latvian military contingent from the country. At the moment there are about 170 Latvian soldiers there.
The country’s Defence Ministry stated earlier that Latvia plans to take part in the mission in Afghanistan until 2014.