AMBASSADOR'S BLOG - AFGHANISTAN: WHY UKRAINE HAS A SPECIAL ROLE

26.01.10


One of the most haunting sights in Kyiv is the monument to Ukrainians who fell in Afghanistan during the Soviet intervention from 1979-89.  It shows three soldiers, one sat on the ground with his head bowed.  Around it are the names of the fallen on bronze plaques.  Similar in tone to a combination of the two Vietnam War memorials in Washington DC, it's a sombre contrast to the monumental triumphalism of the memorial to the Great Patriotic War, nearby.

Ukraine's experience of conflict in Afghanistan is a reminder of why  "Afghanistan: The London Conference", due to take place on 28 January, is so important. The conference will be co-hosted by Gordon Brown, President Karzai and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. 

Its aim, as Paul Arkwright has blogged, is to focus on security, development and governance, and the international architecture to support the Afghan government to see the task through.  The London Conference will include an announcement of the intention to establish an international fund for reintegration.  This fund will help to support Afghan-led efforts to develop an effective and sustainable reintegration programme for those fighters who want a route out of violence and back into normal life. 

Although Afghanistan is still a painful subject for many Ukrainians who lost family members during the Soviet intervention, Ukraine currently has ten peacekeepers playing a vital part in support of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, and has recently approved an increase in the ceiling of peacekeepers to 30.  Ukraine has immense experience of peace support operations worldwide, and there are many different roles to be filled.  We hope that, as the focus shifts increasingly to training and assisting the Afghan government, Ukraine will play an important role in international efforts to bring about stability and an end to conflict in Afghanistan.

Leigh Turner
British Ambassador to Ukraine

NOTE:  You can read all of Ambassador Turner's blogs by visiting: http://blogs.fco.gov/roller/turner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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