Questions Norwegian operations in Afghanistan

NRK reports that Norwegian troops have on several occasions participated in operations in Afghanistan together with Afghan troops and with soldiers from Operation Enduring Freedom, officially not supported by Norway, writes Norway Post.

Photo: Torgeir Haugaard

Defence Chief Sverre Diesen. Photo: Torgeir Haugaard

The present Norwegian red-green coalition government decided in 2005 to participate only in ISAF (International Security Assistance Force), a force which is backed by the UN with the aim to strengthen the Afghan government and the reconstruction of the country.

The aim of the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom is to destroy Al Qaida and Taliban, an operation supported by Norway until 2005, when the Norwegian government withdrew the Norwegian troops, in line with its declared policy.

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) has been criticized for operations which has resulted in major civilian losses.

However, despite the withdrawal from OEF, Norwegian troops have on several occasions supported their units when they have asked for assistance. This is confirmed by Defense Chief Sverre Diesen to NRK. He says he sees no problems with this: The OEF units were involved in operations which they could not handle and asked for Norwegian support, which they got.

Senior researcher at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO), Kristian Berg Harpviken, on the other hand, finds it unfortunate that Norway participates in operations we officially have distanced us from.

This makes Norwegian policy appear inconsistent, Harpviken says, fearing that if the present trend continues, it will end up that there will be even closer cooperation between Norwegian military units and the US-led OEF.

Source: Norway Post / NRK.

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