By Vafa Ismayilova
The U.S. embassy has thanked the Azerbaijani peacekeepers who served in Afghanistan.
In a message posted on its Facebook page on September 1, the U.S. embassy said: “Thank you to the Azerbaijani peacekeepers who served at the airport in Afghanistan. We are grateful for their service in helping the U.S. and NATO partners keep the airport safe and supporting the evacuations of U.S. citizens. We are happy these peacekeepers have returned safely to Azerbaijan.”
Azerbaijan's 120-member peacekeeper contingent returned to Baku after serving at the Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan on August 27.
Earlier, they were evacuated from the country on August 26 at 0100 [GMT +4]. Along with their weapons and military property, the peacekeepers were transported to Ankara by air.
The Azerbaijani peacekeeping unit, which successfully fulfilled its tasks, performed its duties with high professionalism, ensuring the security of the airport together with the Turkish forces.
It should be noted that on November 20, 2002, the Azerbaijani army's 22-member peacekeeping unit began operating in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
On January 15, 2008, the number of Azerbaijani peacekeepers in Afghanistan reached 40. On October 2, 2009, Azerbaijan's parliament decided to increase the country's peacekeeping contingent in Afghanistan.
In February of the same year, the Azerbaijani army's 90-member peacekeeping contingent started to take part in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations in Afghanistan as part of the Turkish armed forces battalion. The unit's personnel maintained the security of a television tower in Kabul, ISAF's central ammunition depot, and patrolled the area.
To increase the Azerbaijani Peacekeeping Forces' contribution to the NATO ISAF operations in Afghanistan, on October 5, 2010, Azerbaijan sent two military doctors and two fortification engineers, bringing the number of its peacekeepers to 94 .
Since January 1, 2015, Azerbaijani peacekeepers have began the NATO-led Resolute Support non-combat mission operations in Afghanistan under a six-month rotation plan.
On January 9, 2018, Azerbaijan increased its staff from 94 to 120 in order to enlarge its contribution to the mission. In addition to being represented in the relevant commands of the mission, the Azerbaijani army's peacekeeping forces also successfully fulfilled the task of guarding the Kabul International Airport.
The Azerbaijani peacekeepers also take part in peacekeeping operations in Kosovo, Iraq and Sudan, contribute to international peace and security.
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