With the urging of Armenia’s Defense Ministry, the presence of Armenian peacekeepers in Afghanistan will triple. Armenian Defense Minister Seiran Ohanian championed the increase in the number of Armenian peacekeepers as a means to bring Armenia in closer relations with NATO and the EU. “Armenia should not be in the last place in this regard in the South Caucasus,” argued Defense Minister Seiran Ohanian in his May 10 address to Armenia’s National Assembly.
Some Armenian lawmakers agreed, saying that beefing up Armenia’s troop presence in Afghanistan will improve the country’s international image. On May 11th, Armenia’s parliament passed a bill to amend the international agreement on regulating the legal issues with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and moved to triple its Afghan contingent.
The bill increases the troop level from 45 to 130 people, and during the change of duty – a maximum of 260, as well as provides authorization for a prolonged involvement of Armenian peacekeepers in the NATO peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan.
The increase in Armenian peacekeepers in Afghanistan will become the second-largest South Caucasus troop contributor to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Afghan campaign, following Georgia, which tips the scales at 924 personnel. By comparison, Azerbaijan, considered largest and the wealthiest of the region, will now have the smallest number of forces (94) on the ground in Afghanistan.
The Armenian unit in Afghanistan will continue to serve under the command of the German battalion and provide airport security in the Afghan city of Kunduz.