On July 7 at 18:30 the deputy police chief of Baghlan Province informed the commander of the HDF Provincial Reconstruction Team (HUN PRT) stationed in Afghanistan that a magnetic improvised explosive device (IED) had been emplaced on a tanker truck on the main road in the town of Pol-e Khumri, 2.5 kilometers from Camp Pannonia.
Led by the commander, the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) and the EOD technicians of the Hungarian contingent quickly deployed to the scene where they cordoned off the area and cooperated with the EOD technicians of the Afghan national security forces (ANSF) until successfully removing the IED after more than three hours of intensive work. There were 16,000 liters of kerosene inside the tank of the tanker truck. Through their action, the Hungarian soldiers have thwarted a bomb attack that would have claimed around 1,500 lives.
The ANSF have launched an investigation into the incident. Currently there are 340 Hungarian soldiers deployed in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). They are there to implement development projects and build infrastructure through which they can substantially improve the Afghan people’s living circumstances after the withdrawal of NATO combat forces.
The Hungarian Defence Forces Provincial Reconstruction Team (HUN PRT) started work in August 2004 in Camp Julien, near Kabul. The Light Infantry Company was tasked with patrolling, protection of designated facilities, search and rescue and convoy escort. From 2006 on, the Hungarian contingent took over responsibility for NATO’s Provincial Reconstruction Team in Baghlan Province.
The mission has to provide the population with drinking water and proper health care, and also to participate in local infrastructural developments and the establishment of the systems of public administration, education, agriculture and judiciary. In April, the Defence and Foreign Ministers of NATO agreed that all combat forces would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
At the meeting in Brussels, the member states agreed on the specific stages of the transition, which is to be implemented until 2014. Speaking at the Chicago NATO Summit in May, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán praised the work done by the Hungarian forces in Afghanistan. “The Hungarian soldiers have done a great job and earned widespread recognition for Hungary”, he stressed.
(MoD Press Office – Magyar Nemzet)