Norwegian helicopters to remain in Afghanistan
The Ministry of Defence has decided to keep the Norwegian helicopters and support personnel in Afghanistan until October 2010.
The three helicopters and the support group of 58 were originally to operate in Afghanistan from May 2008 until the fall of 2009, but will now remain until October 2010.
Undersecretary of State Espen Barth Eide of the Defence Department says to Aftenposten that the decision is based on a need to give first priority to the security for the Norwegian troops in Afghanistan.
Nearly 300 Norwegian troops are stationed in Meymaneh in Northern Afghanistan. The helicopters have over the past 10 months been called out 32 times to pick up wounded.
Using helicopters, the wounded will be in hospital within an hour, while it would take up to six hours by car.