The Montenegro troops will be part of the Croatian military contingent in Afghanistan.
By Drazen Remikovic for Southeast European Times in Zagreb -- 01/02/13
Montenegro soldiers train to carry out tasks in Afghanistan according to NATO standards. [AFP]
A contingent of Montenegrin soldiers is training in Croatia's Pozega barracks in preparation to participate in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan as part of the 21st Croatian Army contingent.
"Thirty-three Montenegrin Army members are training … to fulfill their task to secure the Marmal military base in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan," Milica Pejanovic Djurisic, defence minister of Montenegro, told SETimes.
The pre-deployment training began on January 8th and covered combat rescue, diving, use of communications equipment, training management and sanitation in line with NATO standards.
The training ends with the conclusion of a two-week joint military exercise, dubbed Croatian Pride, at the Gasinci training grounds on Friday (February 1st).
The exercise included Slovenia and militaries of the five US-Adriatic Charter members -- Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia and Montenegro.
"The defence systems' co-operation provides an opportunity for various wider and more constructive activities than they can do by themselves. In addition, this kind of co-operation allows for savings by the countries involved," Igor Tabak, military analyst and president of the Defense and Security association, told SETimes.
Montenegro has participated in the ISAF mission since March 2010 and currently contributes 39 soldiers at a cost of 2 million euros annually.
Experts are praising this and other exercises conducted under the US-Adriatic Charter as a shining example of regional co-operation with great mutual benefit.
"Regional co-operation can be mostly seen in the project for a military police school for the Afghan National Army in Kabul," Mislav Simatovic, spokesman of the Croatian Defence Ministry, told SETimes.
The military police school in Kabul has trained the rotating Croatian soldiers, as well as soldiers of the region's militaries, including Montenegro.
"Even NATO's Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rassmusen said this is an example of how regional countries should co-operate," Simatovic said.
Simatovic said the charter framework has provided an excellent platform to advance regional relations.
"It contributes to the deepening of understanding, but also to the stability and security both in the region and beyond."