USDOS – US Department of State (Author)
Hungary remained a consistent and reliable counterterrorism partner. In addition to the continued leadership of a Provincial Reconstruction Team, Hungary sent 28 troops to Afghanistan as part of a new joint Operational, Mentoring, and Liaison team (OMLT). The OMLT, which is commanded by a Hungarian Lieutenant Colonel, includes an equal number of troops from the Ohio National Guard. Additionally, Hungary deployed 40 troops to provide security during the national elections, as well as committing a Special Forces contingent, which operated with U.S. forces. At year’s end, Hungary had a total of 324 troops serving in Afghanistan. In response to President Obama’s calls for further allied support, Prime Minister Bajnai pledged in December 2009 to add a further 200 soldiers to the Hungarian contingent.
In September, the Prime Minister announced that Hungary would accept one detainee from the Guantanamo detention facility. This decision was controversial, but won cross-party support. In late November, the detainee was transferred to Hungary.
In a series of operations, Hungary arrested 19 of the approximately 20-member Hungarian Arrows National Liberation Army, a far-right extremist group suspected of committing or conspiring to commit terrorist acts. The remaining individual is still at large. Although Hungary’s legal code does not provide for the designation of domestic terrorist organizations, Hungarian authorities nonetheless carefully monitored potential extremist groups and closely cooperated with U.S. law enforcement and other agencies.
As a Schengen zone country, Hungary continued to manage its border responsibilities, including the increased entry of foreigners seeking asylum.