NEWS

A mission to regenerate Afghanistan

Greek armed forces have been serving with the international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan for the past four-and-a-half years, ever since US and Afghan opposition forces ousted the Taliban militia in 2001. With the international spotlight firmly back on Afghanistan following a strong resurgence in Taliban activity – and with NATO calling on member states, including Greece, to commit more troops – Kathimerini English Edition spoke to the military officers leading the Greek peacekeeping contingent in Kabul about the challenges they face in rebuilding the war-torn country. The overall picture that emerged was one of commitment to reconstruction and the renewal of hope among the Afghan people, despite the risks. Greece’s top military representative in Kabul, who sits on a board making strategic decisions concerning the international peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, stressed the need for dedication to an operation which will need many more years to bear fruit. The director of a field hospital at Kabul airport which has won international praise and local admiration for its work explained how the Greek operation decided to offer Afghan citizens free healthcare. The chief of a Greek unit which has rebuilt schools and roads in the region of Kabul expressed the satisfaction of participating in the reconstruction of a country decimated by decades of conflict. And the Greek officer responsible for the well-being and logistics of soldiers in Kabul emphasized the determination of the Greek peacekeepers to put the country back on its feet despite the Taliban’s efforts to prevent it from moving forward.