Press Advisories

25. 4. 2016 22:28

Prime Minister visits Czech troops in Afghanistan

Předseda vlády ČR Bohuslav Sobotka navštívil ve dnech 24. – 25. dubna 2016 Afghánskou islámskou republiku.
On the 24th and The 25th of April 2016, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka visited the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
On the 24th and The 25th of April 2016, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka visited the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Besides meeting with Czech troops serving in Afghanistan as part of the NATO Resolute Support mission, he also met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other Afghan government officials.

The Czech prime minister visited Czech troops serving at the Kabul International Airport and at the Bagram air base, and he thanked them for serving in difficult conditions and for managing demanding tasks. He also met with a representative of the Resolute Support mission commander, Lt. Col. Sandy Storria and Bagram base commander Jeffrey L. Bannister.

In the discussion with Czech troops at both bases, the prime minister emphasised the importance of the troops’ service in the NATO mission for the stabilisation of Afghanistan and for fulfilment of the Czech Republic’s obligations stemming from its membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

A stable and prosperous Afghanistan that will be able to ensure its own safety as quickly as possible is also a national security interest of the Czech Republic. Through your service, you are not only giving our country honour and a good reputation abroad, but you are also contributing to the Czech Armys reputation at home, Prime Minister Sobotka told the troops.

A total of 243 Czech soldiers currently serve in the Resolute Support mission. The company guards at the air base in Bagram take part in ensuring security at the base. An aviation advisory team is located at the Kabul International Airport, which conducts training of Afghan helicopter pilots and ground personnel. It is also the home of the field surgical team, the mission commanders and the national support group, which provides logistics and administrative support to all Czech troops in Afghanistan. Prime Minister Sobotka’s visit to Afghanistan is taking place a week after the Czech Republic approved the mandate for the Czech Army's service in foreign missions for 2017 and 2018. The mandate has yet to be approved by the Czech Parliament.

During his visit to Afghanistan, the prime minister also met with Afghan government officials. During his talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Afghan Executive Leader Abdullah Abdullah, Prime Minister Sobotka emphasised that the Czech Republic as a member of the international community is prepared to assist Afghanistan cope with its currently difficult security and economic situation. He also pointed out that Afghanistan must achieve progress in the area of internal reforms, so that the country will be prepared to accept further responsibility for its own future and so that it can ensure a good standard of living for its inhabitants.

Prime Minister Sobotka also spoke to Afghan officials about support for establishment of contacts in the area of economic cooperation and about migration issues. The prime minister stressed the need to enter into repatriation agreements between the EU and Afghanistan, which would enable the repatriation of Afghan nationals who fail to gain asylum in the EU.

Tens of thousands of  people, mostly young people, leave Afghanistan each year, but Afghanistan will need these people for its future renewal and development. This wave of emigration undermines the long-term efforts of the Afghan government and the international community to reconstruct the country. Therefore, the Czech Republic wants to focus in its development cooperation mainly in areas where it is possible to contribute to easing of migration flows by improving living conditions in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Sobotka said.

As far as the Czech Republic’s development cooperation is concerned, Afghanistan is currently among the five priority countries with a cooperation programme. Czech development projects in Afghanistan are focused on particular on development of agriculture, support for education, boosting of Afghan state administration and support for women’s rights.

The prime minister also thanked Czech diplomats and other staff of the Czech embassy in Kabul for their service in the country and for their role in the development of Czech-Afghan relations, particularly economic ties and political cooperation.

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