Norway’s Defence Minister in Faryab to mark the transfer of security responsibility to the Afghans
Norwegian Minister of Defence Mr. Espen Barth Eide visited Faryab province on Tuesday 9 September to mark the end of Norway’s 7- year long military presence in the province with a ceremony that took place in the Norwegian- led Camp Maimana.
Norwegian Minister of Defence Mr. Espen Barth Eide visited Faryab province on Tuesday 9 September to mark the end of Norway’s 7- year long military presence in the province with a ceremony that took place in the Norwegian led Camp Maimana. Present at the ceremony were Norway’s and Latvia’s Defence Ministers including Defence Chiefs as well as representatives from the American defence authorities, Governor of Faryab province Mr. Faizal Begzad and representatives from Afghan military and civilian authorities.
In his speech Mr. Barth Eide said that the ceremony represented a crossroads for Faryab province: "For many years the Norwegian forces built and trained the local security forces in order for them to take over security responsibility in the province. Today we celebrate that the time has come". Governor of Faryab province Mr. Begzad on his side thanked Norwegian authorities for their support and said: "On behalf of Faryab province I want to express my gratitude for the support you have given to us. Our own security forces are now capable of handling the security responsibility".
Even though the Norwegian forces now pull out of Faryab province, Norway will still be present in Afghanistan. ISAF is concentrating its efforts on the major population centers and main transport routes. The termination of the Norwegian-led PRT Maimana is part of this strategy. Norway will now concentrate its efforts in Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. "We will continue the very successful special forces training of the Afghan police emergency force in Kabul. We will also personnel a joint Nordic-Latvian unit to train Afghan Police in Mazar-e-Sharif, a C-130J Hercules transport aircraft will be in place to ISAF's disposal in a few weeks, Defence Minister Espen Barth Eide stated.
The Norwegian military presence will continue in Afghanistan until the end of 2014. After this, Norway will, together with NATO, assist in certain advisory and training functions. Meanwhile, Norway continues its civilian assistance at a high level. Financial support for the operation of the Afghan security forces will continue at least until 2017.