Coronavirus response: Allies and partners join efforts to increase testing capacity of NATO-led mission in Afghanistan
Protecting our service members and civilians deployed with NATO-led missions remains paramount. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, troops operating as part of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission continue to apply preventative measures in accordance with the World Health Organization guidelines, including hand-washing, social distancing, wearing facemasks and avoiding large gatherings.
Additionally, COVID-19 testing capacity within the Resolute Support Mission is being upgraded. The NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) has facilitated the delivery of an additional GeneXpert 16 COVID-19 testing laboratory, together with three technicians. Increasing secretion test capacity allows medical professionals to more quickly identify infections, limit the spread of the disease and start medical care for anyone who is infected. Additional capabilities include a (Thermo Fisher) TaqPath COVID-19 Combo Kit, six BioFire machines, and four additional GeneXpert machines. Testing is available for all personnel serving under the 38-nation mission, including service-members, civilians, contractors and Afghan workers living on Resolute Support bases.
Resolute Support began COVID-19 testing in Afghanistan on 23 April 2020. Prior to that, it was necessary to send test samples to laboratories outside Afghanistan for analysis, which took 7-10 days due to the difficulty in shipping from Afghanistan and flight restrictions put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Australia, Norway, and the United States have contributed funding and capabilities to increase Resolute Support's testing capacity.
The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission continues to support Afghan security forces and institutions tackling the global pandemic. It is carrying out training, advising and assistance, helping the Afghan forces create the conditions for lasting peace, and ensuring Afghanistan will never again become a safe haven for international terrorists.