Estonia has announced the withdrawal of its troops deployed in Mali as part of a counter-terrorism mission in the West-African country, making it the latest country to announce such a move after Denmark.
Estonia’s defense minister, Kalle Laanet said the presence of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) in Mali is about to end, with the official withdrawal to be announced Wednesday.
The announcement comes weeks after Denmark said it will start pulling its troops out of Mali after Mali’s transitional government demanded an immediate withdrawal.
Laanet said European allies at a meeting Friday confirmed that due to the Malian junta’s flagrant violation of the rules, it is no longer possible to continue the mission.
However, he said the withdrawal does not mean that the fight against terrorism in the Sahel region will end.
The EDF has been contributing forces to the French-led Operation Barkhane mainly through an infantry platoon based in the city of Gao. In 2019, Estonia increased its troop deployment to 95 soldiers.
Estonia’s special forces had also participated in Operation Takuba, a European military taskforce in northeastern Mali.
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