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News 01 Dec 14

Montenegro Extends Military Presence in Afghanistan

Over the next two years, Montenegro will also support Afghanistan's military institutions with 1.2 million dollars of aid funding, the government in Podgorica has announced.

Dusica Tomovic

In accordance with its "financial capabilities", Montenegro has committed 1.2 million dollars assistance to the government of Afghanistan for the period 2015-2017, BIRN has learned.

"The funds will be directed to NATO Afghan National Army Trust Fund," a source from the Montenegro's Ministry of Defence told BIRN.

In 2012, Montenegro, together with 22 other countries, joined the 3C (Coalition of Committed Contributors) initiative, which was launched by Denmark and aims to gather  NATO partners willing to financially support Afghan national forces.

In addition to financial assistance, the Montenegrin government has decided to continue its military presence in Afghanistan after the completion of the 13-year-long ISAF mission  in December.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in October recognised Montenegro as an "operational partner" in new non-combat NATO-led mission called 'Resolote Support', which will start in January 2015.

The decision on deploying new forces in Afghanistan and donating the aid came after recent surveys suggested that the majority of Montnegrin citizens still strongly oppose NATO membership and the further engagement of the country in the alliance's missions.  

Thirty-five percent of the population support joining NATO, surveys have suggested, and the opposition in November urged the government to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, saying that participation in NATO missions "was and will be an unnecessary and potentially risky activity."

Montenegro first deployed troops in the NATO operation in Afghanistan back in 2010.

In September, the tenth Montenegrin troop contingent was sent to Afghanistan.

Although the number of troops was reduced from 27 to 15, their new tasks are more serious and complex. Montenegrin soldiers are currently providing transport and security assistance to international training and consulting teams in the country.

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