The 224 troops deploying now begin their six-month tour at a difficult time: the Hungarian public was recently made painfully aware of the security situation in Afghanistan through the loss of two explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) specialists in two separate incidents in June and July. Both EOD experts lost their lives while attempting to diffuse improvised explosive devices; the Ministry of Defense in Budapest concluded that the devices used in the attacks specifically targeted the Hungarian EOD technicians, and represent a new challenge requiring a new approach to force protection.
As Minister Szekeres emphasized at last week’s ceremony, however, the Hungarian Defense Forces are not backing down: from October, Kabul’s international airport will be controlled by 75 Hungarian troops. The Minister, joined at the event by U.S. Ambassador to Hungary April H. Foley, also announced that the United States is donating twenty-seven armored vehicles for use by the Hungarian PRT. Further, U.S. experts will continue to provide members of the Hungarian PRT with specialized bomb disposal training, and in-theater cooperation between the United States and Hungary is also set to intensify, Szekeres added.