Swedish soldiers in major NATO exercise

Around 700 young Swedish soldiers are participating in an international army exercise in Norway. Eleven NATO countries, plus Sweden and Finland as “partnership nations”, have sent soldiers to Nord-Trøndelag, which is hosting the training camp for international war situations.

The soldiers, mostly conscripts doing their military service, say they are pleased to be able to go “abroad” to see how militiary recruits from other nations carry out their training.

“Although it feels important to promote peace as well at the same time”, said Henrik Eriksson from Storvik.

The “situation” is built on what happened in Bosnia at the start of the 90’s, according to DN. The area where the recruits are training is meant to be ridden with “minority clashes and threats of ethnic cleansing”, and they have to learn to deal with peace keeping and “stabilise the situation”.

This type of international training has not been possible before and it is believed that it will increase the competence and confidence of both recruits and officers. Army Inspection Officer Alf Sandquist hopes that more conscripts will apply to international peace keeping posts in the future after having completed this training.

Several trainees have already said they are keen to enroll for work in foreign countries and it seems working in co-operation with the NATO countries is going well, according to DN. However, the Swedes are not allowed to take part in all “areas”.

“The more qualified units they require, the more sensitive the nature of the work that needs to be carried out”, confirms Colonel Per Örtengren, who is in charge of the Swedish unit. In these “specific cases” only NATO countries may supply forces.

“On the other hand, we won’t let them near our special forces either”, said Örtengren.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter