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The Hungarians Are the Most Popular of All NATO Troops

Szöveg: MTI |  2012. december 5. 10:06

“Afghan civilians like Hungarian soldiers the most, and the soldiers of the Afghan National Army (ANA) like to work with them the most too”, Lt.-Col. Mohammad Salim Ahmadi (ANA) stated on Monday, December 3 in an interview given to the special correspondent of Hungarian News Agency MTI.

“The Hungarians are better than the others – they are kinder and treat people with respect. They don’t behave as oppressors", he added.

The senior officer – who had studied in Germany and Turkey – also said that there would be peace in the country soon anyway, and that they would reach it together with the Taliban if needed. He noted that they are aware of the limits of the country, “we know that Afghanistan is poor and the circumstances are bad, but we don’t give up hope, like we didn’t give it up in the past either." “The post-war situation will be much like it was immediately before the Soviet withdrawal, and the country will be united again", he added.

The lieutenant-colonel is the commandant of a military camp where Hungarian soldiers cooperate with Croatian ones in training Afghan troops. Currently 11 soldiers are serving with the HDF Logistic Mentor Team in Kabul; during the six-week training, the Afghans are
trained in maintenance, cooking, motor vehicle driving and other support services.

Another Afghan senior officer, Maj. Abdul Rahman – who is participating in the helicopter course run by the Hungarian air mentors in Kabul – told MTI that the relations between the Hungarian soldiers and the locals were excellent. There are several Afghan pilots who had studied together with the Hungarian mentors in the Soviet Union a long time ago. The excellent relationship with the Hungarians is also due to the fact that “a lot of Afghans had studied in Hungary sometime in the past, and these people returned with good memories, so the country and the Hungarian soldiers have a good reputation", he said.

The Mi–35 Air Mentor Team of the Hungarian Defence Forces started working in Kabul in the summer of 2010. Currently 12 soldiers are serving with the AMT whose mandate runs until May 2013. Their primary task is to provide classroom instruction and on-the-job training for the attack helicopter crews of the Afghan Air Force.

According to the statistics of the Hungarian Ministry of Defence, a total of around 1,000 Hungarian troops are serving with some or other mission abroad. Most of them are deployed in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Around 500 Hungarian soldiers are participating in NATO-led operations. Of them, 230 are serving with the Force Protection Group at the Kabul International Airport (KAIA), around 110 are working in the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), more than 50 in the Hungarian–US Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) and another 50 are serving in individual positions. Further 100 soldiers are working in the Central Asian country as members of the Air Mentor Team, the Air Advisory Team and the Special Operations Team as well as the National Support Element.

Nearly 200 Hungarian soldiers are serving with the second largest contingent of the Hungarian Defence Forces in Kosovo, while more than 160 Hungarians are serving in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Ministry of Defence informed MTI that some soldiers are working in Congo, Uganda and Georgia too, as advisors, trainers and observers, but their total number barely exceeds ten. Hungarian soldiers are also deployed in the Western Sahara (seven), Lebanon (four) and Cyprus (80) as well as in the Sinai Peninsula (26 soldiers and 16 policemen).