A recent editorial in the Estonian newspaper Õhtuleht questioned Estonia’s — and indirectly all of NATO’s — engagement in Afghanistan. The piece argued that Estonia was not contributing to world stability, but was instead inviting “Muslims to attack Estonia.” Finally, Õhtuleht cited a source stating that Estonia had already proven its loyalty to the U.S. and NATO and should stop “wasting money and bring Estonian troops home.” This editorial got it wrong on some many levels that it is hard to know exactly where to start.
NATO’s engagement, with important Estonian contributions as an Alliance member, is making a major contribution to world stability. This stability was shattered by the deadly attack on a NATO country, namely the United States, abetted by Taliban emanating from Afghan soil. The Alliance is commited to seeking out and destroying radical extremists and to denying them future refuge among the long-suffering Afghan people. Neither Estonia nor its other NATO allies are fighting “Muslims,” quite the contrary. We are fighting together with Muslims and with more than 40 other nations and our Afghan friends to defeat terrorists who are perverting a proud faith to wage war on innocent people around the world.
And finally, Estonia’s engagement in Afghanistan has nothing to do with loyalty toward the United States, NATO or anyone else other than one’s conscience. This is a fight against indiscriminate murder of both Muslims and non-Muslims and a responsibility that a determined world community has taken up to prevent future bloodshed. To disrespect the sacrifices of so many Estonians, some of whom have made the ultimate sacrifice, by discribing their bravery as a self-serving mission that has run its course is just wrong — on ALL levels.