Soldiers in Afghanistan protect Norway

Defense Minister Grete Faremo traveled by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on 17 May visit to the Norwegian camp in Maymana. There they met, among others, PRT chief, Colonel Knut Freheim PHOTO: Tor Arne Andreassen

Defense Minister Grete Faremo traveled by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on 17 May visit to the Norwegian camp in Maymana. There they met, among others, PRT chief, Colonel Knut Fredheim PHOTO: Tor Arne Andreassen

The values that Norway marks the 17 May are the same as the Norwegian soldiers protect through its mission in Afghanistan, said Jens Stoltenberg, who Monday took the soldiers a visit.

As the sun baked over the Norwegian military camp in Meymaneh in northern Afghanistan, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg thanked the approximately 200 Norwegian soldiers for their efforts in Afghanistan. Stoltenberg has been criticized for not having visited the Norwegian soldiers in Afghanistan in years.

After a pause of four and a half years he came to Afghanistan.

“You are here to safeguard the values of an entire nation, precisely what we are celebrating today. Therefore, I am pleased to celebrate National Day together with you,” said Prime Minister in his 17 May speech to the soldiers.

Happy visits

During the tour the camp in Maymana, Stoltenberg got to see the vehicles that were damaged during the fighting earlier in May, when two Norwegian soldiers were seriously wounded. He also met Grenader Nygård (who would not give the whole name), who with a great beard, Stoltenberg could tell that he had been in Afghanistan five times.

“It’s people like you we need,” he said after a brief talk with the soldier from the Telemark battalion, and pat him on the shoulder.

The experienced Grenader made it clear to Aftenposten that he enjoyed the prime minister’s visit.

“We are incredibly thrilled to have the prime minister come here, and that he chooses to come on a day like this,” said Nygaard.

While he celebrated 17 May in Afghanistan twice.

The Prime Minister held a solemn speech to the soldiers before they deployed detvanket traditional 17 May-menu of hot dogs and icecream.

Important support

During the visit in Afghanistan, Stoltenberg stressed that it was important that he and other politicians marked the support of the Norwegian soldiers.

“It is the shared opinions about what we do in Afghanistan in the Norwegian people.”

“That is why I and several cabinet ministers spend a lot of time trying to justify why we are there. It is also why I want to use 17 May to emphasize that the values we mark this day are the same as Norwegian soldiers protects through its mission in the country,” said Stoltenberg.

The struggle for stability and the fight against terror in Afghanistan is also important for Norway’s security. The soldiers’ efforts in Afghanistan makes Norway safer,” he said.

He reminded that the ruling party SV has a different view.

“But it is accepted in the government platform that we will continue both our military and civilian engagement in Afghanistan. There has been an important issue for me to secure,” he said.

Heavy responsibility

During the meeting with the Norwegian soldiers in Meymaneh, Stoltenberg got an extra reminder of the great responsibility that is incumbent upon him by sending troops into a war zone.

“It’s a great responsibility to send soldiers in military operations that are associated with risk, and I am concerned that the military and Defense Department do what they can to follow up the soldiers both before soldiers are sent out on assignment, but also for, and in particular relatives of injured and dead.

Always a consideration

He says that he has talked with several of the victims coming.

“It is a very powerful experience that reminds me each time of the great responsibility it is to send troops to military operations,” said Stoltenberg.

In what way influenced the choice of development in Afghanistan?

There is a connection. Our challenge is that we do not have a perfect regime in Afghanistan. But we must constantly evaluate, is it worse or better that we pull out. I am convinced that this situation is now, so it will be worse for the people we are keen to help.

Source: Aftenposten

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