Ireland likely to continue to participate in NATO-led Mission in Afghanistan
It seems clear from the language used by the Minister for Defence this week in response to a parliamentary question from Clare Daly TD that the Government is planning to send further Irish soldiers to Afghanistan with the planned NATO follow-on mission. If they do that, the soldiers will be exposed to even greater danger than at present due to withdrawal of most of the NATO forces and the increased attacks by Afghan insurgents.
Shannonwatch is opposed to any such decision, and will make its position on this clear to the government. We encourage others to do the same, and hope that Dublin-based activists might even be able to make their opposition known through protests and placards outside the Dail. This needs to be done as soon as possible to influence the government decision so it is hoped that small daily protests could be undertaken at lunchtime, starting next week.
The parliamentary question was as follows:
To ask the Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 255 of 25 November 2014, if he will clarify the impression that the Defence Forces are considering sending soldiers to Afghanistan after 31 December 2014and that those Defence Forces personnel will be directly involved in training Afghanistan soldiers, in view of such an exercise being inappropriate for Irish personnel to be involved with; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The reply given by the Minister for Defence was:
Ireland has participated in the NATO-led UN mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan since 5 July 2002. Seven members of the Permanent Defence Force are currently serving in the mission headquarters in Kabul.