Solemn line-up marking the departure of the 14th contingent to Afghanistan
On Monday, 27 September, a ceremony took place at the Novo Mesto Military Post, marking the departure of the 14th Slovenian ISAF Contingent. The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Defence, Dr Ljubica Jelušič, Chief of the General Staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces, Major General Alojz Šteiner and Commander of the National Guard from Colorado, Michael Edwards. The participants were addressed by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr Borut Pahor. Prior to the ceremony, a meeting of families of servicemembers leaving to Afghanistan was organised.
The deployment of SAF members to Afghanistan and their assuming of independent mentoring of an infantry battalion will be carried out on the basis of a decision of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia and a decree of the Minister of Defence. The 14th Slovenian Contingent, composed of 88 servicemembers from different SAF units, and two civilian experts, will provide mentoring of Afghan National Army (ANA) members in an infantry battalion and a combat support battalion. It will provide support and protection of operational mentoring and liaison teams (OMLT) as well as national logistic support. It will operate as part of ISAF commands and the Regional Command West Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT). The OMLT and the support unit will include 11 members of the National Guard from Colorado.
The deployment is carried out in several phases. The team will be divided into two groups when departing to the area of operations. The forward party travelled to the Ramstein Airport in Germany by road, whereas, in the following days, the majority of the contingent will fly to Herat from the Edvard Rusjan Airport in Maribor. The precise dates have not been determined yet, since they depend on the air traffic situation, mainly in Afghanistan, as well as on the availability of the aircraft. The contingent will be stationed in the US base in Shindad. The movement of the first two Svarun vehicles took place at the end of last week, while the other two will be transported to Afghanistan in the following days.
Photo: Emil Jalovec, GŠSV