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Armenian Defense Minister Visits Afghanistan

Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian inspects Armenian troops in Afghanistan on July 24.
YEREVAN -- Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian has visited Afghanistan, where he inspected Armenian troops and met with Afghan officials and top NATO military commanders, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said Ohanian, whose three-day visit ended on July 26, held meetings to discuss Afghanistan's "security environment." He met with, among others, General David Petraeus, the commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan.

Armenia is one of 43 NATO member or partner states making up the multinational contingent in Afghanistan, having sent a 40-strong combat unit there early this year.

The troops were deployed near the northern Afghan city of Konduz and are in charge of protecting a local military airport.

Ohanian visited Armenian troops and inspected observation posts, barracks, and equipment at the start of his trip on July 24.

Bishop Vrtanes Abrahamian, the Armenian Army's chief chaplain, accompanied the minister and consecrated a small chapel built in the troops' military compound.

According to the Defense Ministry statement, Petraeus thanked Ohanian for the "excellent and exemplary service" of the Armenian soldiers.

Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak likewise praised the Armenian troops during talks with Ohanian in Kabul on July 25, the Defense Ministry statement said.