Minister of Defence Gitte Lillelund Bech has just ended a visit to Kabul. The visit included, among other things, a British-Danish-Estonian meeting and a series of meetings with military and civilian authorities in Kabul. During the visit, the British, Danish and Estonian ministers of defence discussed the perspectives and challenges of the planned transitional process, according to which the responsibility for security will be gradually transferred from ISAF to the Afghan troops. The British-Danish-Estonian meeting concluded in a joint statement confirming the continued support of the three countries for the transitional process towards and after 2014.

“The visit confirms my trust in the efficiency of the NATO strategy. There are still huge challenges in Afghanistan. I had the opportunity to discuss these challenges with my colleagues from Great Britain and Estonia. Like Denmark, they have troops in the Helmand province. Progress takes time, so it is essential to have realistic expectations. We all agree to continue our support to the establishment of the Afghan security forces. Well-functioning Afghan security forces are a condition for a gradually more withdrawn role of our troops until the end of 2014, when Denmark will have no more battle units in Afghanistan,” states Minister of Defence Gitte Lillelund Bech.

During her visit, the minister of defence had the opportunity to talk to two female members of the Afghan parliament. She further met with Danish staff personnel at the ISAF staffs in Kabul and thanked them for their effort. All in all, there are approximately 750 Danish soldiers in Afghanistan. The Danish battle group in Helmand consists of abt. 645 persons, who form part of the British lead Task Force Helmand.