source: Resolute Support

In Herat the turnover ceremony for the personnel of the mission in Afghanistan between the Multinational Land Force based on the Alpine Brigade "Julia" and the Parachute Brigade "Folgore".

The ceremony was held in the presence of the Minister of Defense, Hon. Lorenzo Guerini

In recent days, in the base of Camp Arena, in the presence of the Minister of Defense, Hon. Lorenzo Guerini, as part of the planned shifts between the various units of the Italian Armed Forces, took place the ceremony of turnover between the Multinational Land Force based on Alpine Brigade "Julia", under the command of Brigadier General Alberto Vezzoli, and the Parachute Brigade "Folgore" under the command of Brigadier General Beniamino Vergori, as part of the Train Advice Assist Command West (TAAC-W), the Italian-led NATO Command of the mission in Afghanistan "Resolute Support" (RS). The ceremony, chaired by the Deputy Commander of RS, General of Army Corps of the Italian Army Nicola Zanelli, was also attended by the Senior Civilian Representative of NATO in Afghanistan, Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo and the Italian Ambassador to Afghanistan Vittorio Sandalli.

In his address, Mr Guerini expressed his satisfaction for the excellent work carried out by the Italian contingent and praised General Vezzoli and all the soldiers of the Multinational Land Force (MLF) for the excellent results achieved in these six months in training, advice and assistance to institutions and Afghan security forces and for the many initiatives of civil-military cooperation conducted in support of the local population.

In particular, Minister Guerini during his speech said that it is "necessary to protect and not disperse the results achieved in these 20 years with great sacrifices, also in terms of human lives. In recent years, Afghanistan has begun to rebuild, but terrorism remains a widespread threat and the attacks on the country's institutions, local security forces and population are tragic proof of this. We must stand by the Afghans: this is our common desire that I have reiterated in NATO, where we will soon define the future of the Mission".

"One of the most important lessons we have learned - continued the Minister - is that a lasting peace cannot be imposed but must be born and developed through a shared political, economic and diplomatic process. In this delicate phase our position has not changed: we will remain in the country, together with the Allies, as long as it is necessary and as long as the institutions and the Afghan people ask us to, in full respect of the commitments undertaken". In taking the floor, Ambassador Pontecorvo, NATO Senior Civilian Representative for Afghanistan, stressed the great contribution that the Italian Armed Forces have given to the Alliance and the recognized excellence of their work, which has allowed a clear professional growth of the Afghan security forces.

During his speech General Zanelli thanked Gen. B. Vezzoli and the men and women of the Mutlinational Land Force for their work in support of the Afghan security forces and the local population. He wished the personnel of Folgore, under the command of Gen. B. Beniamino Vergori, to successfully overcome any challenge on the path to peace in Afghanistan, continuing to support the institutions and the local defense and security forces according to the mandate of the Resolute Support mission.

At the same time, the leadership of the Task Force "Arena", the unit that provides operational and logistical support to TAAC-W, was changed between the 8th Alpine Regiment of Venzone (Udine) under the command of Colonel Franco Del Favero and the 186th Parachute Regiment Folgore of Siena under the command of Colonel Federico Bernacca. The number of activities that MLF advisors have developed, since August 2020, in favor of the Afghan security forces and, in particular, of the 207th Army Corps of the Afghan Army and of the Provincial Police Commands is remarkable. These engagements, which have not been slowed by the pandemic thanks to extensive use of telecommunications systems, have been complemented by numerous civil-military cooperation activities. Twelve projects have been carried out in order to maintain the good relationships with the local population and have contributed to improve the living conditions of the Afghan society, from the supply of material and specialized equipment for the Fire Brigade of Herat to the supply of sanitary material that allowed the teams of the Afghan Police to conduct a disinfection campaign against Covid-19 of Primary and Secondary Schools in the District of Guzara.

In this way, men and women of "Julia", deployed for the fifth time in this complex operational context, have continued to demonstrate their closeness to the Afghan community, engaged in the difficult path of building a solid and prosperous future.

Brigadier General Vezzoli, TAAC-W and MLF Commander wanted to underline how, thanks to the contribution of Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, 40 tons of foodstuffs have been donated and distributed in the three provinces of Herat, Ghor, Badghis and Farah.

In addition, 8 lung ventilators were delivered to the hospitals of Herat and Guzara and to other hospitals involved in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, such as the military hospital of the 207th Afghan Army Corps and the Paediatric Hospital of Herat, 700 disposable hospital-type suits, 1600 disposable gloves, 700 protective goggles, 900 bottles of hand sanitizer, 13500 surgical masks, 500 bottles of antiseptic liquid, 1350 disposable shoe covers, 700 protective visors, 125 saturimeters, for a total value of 150. 000 euros. Interventions that have restored hope and confidence to the local population, said General Vezzoli.​