It ended in a negative way twenty-year presence of the Italian army in Afghanistan. The Minister of Defense arrived in Herat today, Tuesday 8 June Lorenzo Guerini for the final salute to the military and the ceremony ofdrop-flag at the base of Camp Arena, which was handed over to local security forces. But the ceremony could only be held in a small format and with great delay because the United Arab Emirates denied an Air Force Boeing 767 to fly over their skies, forcing it to land in Saudi Arabia (Dammam) and change the flight plan.
The aircraft, carrying 42 army journalists and soldiers, was headed to Herat for the flag-lowering ceremony. The ceremony was therefore postponed for about 4 hours due to the unforeseen event. But the rudeness was not digested by the Italian government. At the instruction of the Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio the secretary general of the foreign ministry ambassador Ettore Sequi summoned the United Arab Emirates ambassador Omar Al Shamsi to the foreign ministry.
This was announced by the Farnesina. The decision after the United Arab Emirates “denied the passage in their airspace to the C130 of the Italian Air Force with journalists and soldiers on board bound for Herat in Afghanistan, for the ceremony of the lowering of the flag which marks the withdrawal of Italian troops from the troubled country. Sequi expressed his surprise and strong disappointment to the ambassador for an unexpected gesture that is hard to understand “, reads the note from the Foreign Ministry.
During the ceremony, however, the Minister of Defense, Lorenzo Guerini, he recalled that, “we do not want Afghanistan to go back to being a safe place for terrorists. We want to continue to strengthen this country by also giving continuity to the training of the Afghan security forces so as not to disperse the results obtained in these 20 years “. On the case of the flight denied by the Arab Emirates, he added: “The issue did not depend on us, some diplomatic initiatives were taken, the Emirati ambassador to the Foreign Ministry was summoned to ask for explanations and to demonstrate all the disappointment and amazement at having denied the overflight with respect to decisions which had already been communicated, hired and guaranteed“, specified the minister.