Slovakia Sends 34 Soldiers to Afghanistan

Slovakia Sends 34 Soldiers to Afghanistan

Zilina, November 16 (TASR) – Slovakia has bid farewell to 34 members of the Slovak Armed Forces in Zilina on Wednesday. These soldiers from the fifth battalion of special designation are leaving to Afghanistan to join Operation Resolute Support.

Defence Ministry State Secretary Marian Salon said that this is the fifth tour for our soldiers. “Overall the tours have seen 168 soldiers deployed, of which four were women. Operation Resolute Support has replaced ISAF [the International Security Assistance Force], which lasted until 2014. We have been part of operations in Afghanistan since 2003. Altogether we have sent 3,592 soldiers, of which 17 were women, since the beginning of the first operation,” said Salon.

Slovak Armed Forces Chief of General Staff Second Deputy Jindrich Joch stressed that the environment in Afghanistan is constantly changing, which is strenuous for the psyche. “Soldiers have to be constantly vigilant. There are frequent attacks; they’ve infiltrated the Taliban. There are attacks directly on their barracks. It’s not safe on these premises. But of course our soldiers aren’t closed in the barracks; they’re moving around Afghanistan. It’s not a walk through a rose garden. It’s very difficult for their psyche and determination. However, all soldiers are psychically and physically prepared to fulfil their tasks,” stated Joch.

“We’re leaving for Operation Resolute Support prepared as best as possible. We’re aware of the danger that’s lurking behind every corner. We’re ready to cope with that and to fulfil the tasks we’ll be faced with. And I believe there will be no loss on life,” added Oliver Toderiska, the commander of the Slovak contingent.

Salon stated that Slovakia has contributed greatly towards ensuring security in Afghanistan. “The best soldiers are leaving today. They’re going to train, educate, create scope and help Afghani armed forces in order for them to be able to ensure order and democracy in their state without the use of NATO’s forces and resources. They deserve a big thanks for that. They’re doing a highly professional job and that’s appreciated not only by our partners in this operation, but in all operations abroad,” concluded Salon.