Minister hails exemplary performance of Estonian special forces in Mali | New
During the presentation of mission medals on Wednesday to those who participated in Operation Takuba in northeastern Mali, Laanet said: “Estonia has contributed to the Takuba target unit from 2020 and with this considerably strengthened the Allied relations with France”.
“Estonia, France and other allies particularly appreciate your professionalism and dedication,” the minister continued, via a press release.
“You have gained invaluable experience in Mali, but I am sure you have also shared your skills and knowledge with your allies, in addition to the units in Mali. You must be given credit for your thoughtful actions and the precision of your tasks, which are an example for those special forces outfits with longstanding traditions among NATO superpowers,” he continued.
The Minister also thanked the families of the soldiers for their indulgence during the deployment.
The EDF had provided a regular infantry platoon, engaged mainly in patrols and based in the town of Gao, in western Mali, for several years, as part of Estonia’s contribution to the operation Barkhane, a French-led counterterrorism operation that covered a wide swath of the Sahelian region of Africa across several countries that were once French colonies.
Operation Takuba took place in northeastern Mali and, as noted, involved the deployment of the EDF Special Forces Component (ESTSOF).
Two military coups in Mali and the ruling junta’s use of Russian mercenaries from the supposedly private security firm Wagner contributed to Paris’s decision to withdraw from Mali, a move that was followed by similar movements from Sweden and Denmark, as well as from Estonia.
The last EDF personnel who had been deployed to Mali left the country at the end of last month, we learned.
France provides both ground forces and equipment, including the Leclerc heavy tank and fast jets, respectively to the Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battle group and the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission.