Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai, Jr. has said that the presence of Liberian troops in peacekeeping epitomizes the great leap forward that this country has achieved under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's inspiring leadership.
Minister Samukai noted that ten years ago, today, the thought of Liberian military in United Nations peacekeeping mission would have been unthinkable, saying, "but now it is a reality and it shows how far Liberians have come."
The Liberian Defense Minister made the statement Tuesday at celebrations marking the 57th Anniversary of the Armed Forces of Liberia, held at the Barclay Training Center in Monrovia.
Minister Samukai told the gathering that the platoon of soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia deployed in June 2013 to form part of the African led peace keeping Mission to Mali now called MINUSMA, is doing extremely well.
The Defense Minister said reports from MINUSMA Headquarters in Bamako indicate that Liberian troops are focused on their mission and performing very well under the circumstances.
"Today our AFL Platoon is operating along a Togolese Battalion, deployed about 410 kilometers north of Bamako , in the desert area of Diabilli, joining in the international fight against terrorists and gangs of marauding extremists," he pointed out.
Still on the achievements of the Armed Forces of Liberia, the Defense Minister said two years ago, upon the orders of the Liberian leader Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Armed Forces of Liberia(AFL) successfully executed a mission to the north-east and southeastern regions of the country under Operation Restore Hope I,II and III, to protect Liberia's borders against armed aggression, restore the confidence of the Liberian people in that area and reassure Liberian neighbors that the borders are safe and secure.
He said the success of that mission by the AFL along the border area became a tangible litmus test of the quality of training that Liberian partners have imparted into the new Armed Forces and their preparedness to execute.
He said it brought out realistic challenges of planning, supporting, coordinating and executing missions under very difficult circumstances, involving agencies as well as the local administration.