Italy continues its contribution to Afghanistan’s lasting security, through the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission
HERAT (Afghanistan) – On Jan. 26, 2021, Italian Army Brigadier General Alberto Vezzoli, Commander of the “Julia” Brigade and Multinational Land Force, officially handed over the command of Train, Advise, Assist Command-West (TAAC-W) at Camp Arena to Italian Army Brigadier General Beniamino Vergori, Commander of the “Folgore” Brigade. The ceremony was attended by the Italian Minister of Defence Hon. Lorenzo Guerini and presided over by Italian Army Lieutenant General Nicola Zanelli, Deputy Commander of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission. Many other distinguished civilian and military guests also attended, including the NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan, Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo, and Italian Ambassador to Afghanistan Vittorio Sandalli.
“I recognize the great job done by Brigadier General Vezzoli and the “Julia” Brigade, day by day, shoulder to shoulder with our Afghan colleagues on the path for everlasting peace in Herat and in the whole country,” Lieutenant General Zanelli pointed out. Ambassador Pontecorvo highlighted the Train, Advise, Assist Command-West and Multinational Land Force’s contributions to the NATO-led mission, and acknowledged their work toward improving Afghan National Defence and Security Forces’ capabilities and sustainment.
“It is necessary to protect the gains achieved over the last 20 years at the cost of high sacrifice, also in terms of human lives; in the past few years Afghanistan has been moving along the path of reconstruction; terrorism, however, remains a widespread threat and attacks against the country’s institutions, local security forces and people are a tragic testimony in that regard; we must work shoulder to shoulder with the Afghan people: this is our common wish, and I have reiterated it also within the NATO framework, where we will shortly define the future of the mission,” Italian Minister of Defence Lorenzo Guerini said. “One of the most important lessons learnt is a durable peace cannot be imposed: it must emerge from and develop through a shared political, economic and diplomatic process. Even in this very delicate phase, our position has not changed: we will stay in the country with our Allies until necessary, and until the Afghan Institutions and people will ask us to do so, in full compliance with our commitments,” he added.