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Estonian president unveils monument to soldiers in Afghanistan

© RIA Novosti . Ilya Matusikhis  / Go to the photo bankToomas Hendrik Ilves
Toomas Hendrik Ilves - Sputnik International
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Estonia's president has inaugurated a monument to the Estonian soldiers who have died while serving as part of the international force in Afghanistan, the president's office announced.

Estonia's president inaugurated on Wednesday a monument to the Estonian soldiers who have died while serving as part of the international force in Afghanistan, the president's office announced.

Toomas Hendrik Ilves unveiled the memorial during a visit to Camp Bastion in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, where the Estonian military contingent is based.

"We remember and mourn all the brave Estonian troops who have fallen in Afghanistan for the sake of the security of local people, Estonia and our allies," Ilves said at the ceremony.

"Our duty is to remember all the troops who have fallen for our country in the fight for freedom - our freedom and the freedom that the people in Afghanistan deserve," he said.

Estonian soldiers have served in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) since 2003. Eight have been killed and more than 40 injured. There are currently more than 160 Estonian troops in the country.

The president's office said that more than 100 individual contributions totaling more than $8,000 were donated for the construction of the monument, which consists of a small truncated pyramid topped with a cross. It bears a plaque with the names of the victims.

There are also monuments to British and Danish troops at the base.

The monument can be moved should the Estonian contingent be redeployed to another base, and it is intended that it be taken to Estonia once the mission in Afghanistan is complete.

TALLINN, October 6 (RIA Novosti)

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