Czech military lowers flag as they end their presence in Afghanistan

The Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Afghanistan Jiri Baloun officiated over an ceremony over the weekend marking the end to the Czech military’s presence in Afghanistan.

The military parade was also attended by the Deputy Commander of US and NATO’s Resolute Support Mission Lt. Gen. Nicola Zanelli, who thanked the Czech Republic for its nearly twenty-year military presence and exemplary cooperation with the Allies.

He described the Czech soldiers as reliable partners and said their deployment had been important for the operational capabilities of the NATO missions – both ISAF and Resolute Support.

In his speech, Baloun stressed that freedom and security should not be taken for granted, and deserved constant attention. He said the military presence in Afghanistan had helped to create conditions unthinkable twenty years ago, characterized by an unprecedented level of freedom, a reduction in infant mortality, an increase in the number of people being educated, particularly girls, and the development of the national economy.

He also emphasized that support for Afghanistan would continue but Afghans need to fight terrorism and that freedom was now in their own hands.

Baloun also thanked all servicemen and servicewomen deployed to Afghanistan for their service.

Georgia meanwhile has completed withdrawing its troops stationed in Afghanistan after the last remaining unit of the 32nd Battalion returned home, their Defense Ministry reported Monday.

The 32nd Battalion, of Georgia’s Western Command’s 3rd Infantry Brigade, served in Afghanistan under U.S. command as part of the Resolute Support Mission.

Georgia began the drawdown on May 21, after the NATO Allies decided in April to begin withdrawing the Resolute Support Mission forces starting May.