NATO seeks more troops for Afghanistan
NATO’s new chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, called Friday Aug. 8 for additional reinforcements in Afghanistan. Norwegian politician Erling Folkvord representing Red is critical to Norway’s presence.
Folkvord, standing for the small left wing party Red in the upcoming election, has just visited Afghanistan, and is strongly opposed to the Norwegian military presence in the country.
He claims the Norwegian government is deceiving the Norwegian people, and that after the visit he is more convinced than ever that Norwegian troops must be pulled out of Afghanistan. “Norway has unfortunately joined in the same type of big-power warfare which has ravaged and destroyed Afghanistan for 30 years. Norway must get out of this,” Folkvord said to NRK
Tarjei Skirbekk, political adviser to Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre reject the notion that the Norwegian people has been hoodwinked, saying that participation is based on a UN mandate: “In the long run we do want to withdraw our militarily from Afghanistan. All nations do. But the Afghan government and the Afghan people want the troops to be there, and there is clearly a need for the international military presence in order to repel the strong forces like Taliban,” Skirbekk says.
At present, Norway has around 700 soldiers deployed in Afghanistan. In total there are now more than 100,000 Western troops in the country, including about 62,000 Americans.