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Swedish forces to remain in Afghanistan

AFP/The Local · 22 Oct 2009, 13:55

Published: 22 Oct 2009 11:06 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Oct 2009 13:55 GMT+02:00

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"Only with our continued presence can we take long-term action to help phase out military involvement in Afghanistan," Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said in a statement.

He said Sweden "wants to help to ensure that responsibility for the country's development can be transferred to the Afghan authorities in due course."

There are close to 500 Swedish troops in Afghanistan, including teams involved in training the Afghan army.

In announcing the decision, the government cited the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, where Swedish troops have been involved in several fire fights in recent weeks.

In addition to extending military support in Afghanistan, Sweden also plans to increase development assistance to the country from the current 300 million kronor up to 500 million kronor within the next few years.

"Our combined efforts are different components of a policy for peace, democracy and development in Afghanistan and the surrounding region," said Bildt.

Story continues below…

"Extending Sweden's military presence is currently an unavoidable part of this approach."

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:33 October 22, 2009 by Greg in Canada
I'd be surprised if you leave after 2010. Our Canadian government promised us we'd be out by 2011 but now it looks like we're staying longer despite the majority wanting to bring the troops home. Afghanistan is such a mess it looks as if western forces will be there for a long time.
16:33 October 22, 2009 by Nemesis
If we wish to stablise Afghanisatan and reduce the amount of heorin coming from Afghanisatan to Europe we need to stay there for at least a generation and build functional civil society, out of a medieval nighmare straight out of the inquisition.

The Taliban are now the worlds largest narcotics suppliers, namely of heorin. Now you know what all the street gangs are really up to and who they send there money to.

Heorin is subsizing the Taliban and is there primary source of income to purchase weaponary to kill our troops.

Afghanisatan needs a massive troop increase, with at least an order of magnitude improvement in firepower. Then we need the troops to incinerate every single opium field.

To many excuses have been made by the USA not to incinerate the opium fields. They turned a blind eye in Vietnam and look what happened there.

This was needs to be seen for what it is. A country whose primary GDP producing industry, is the heorin industry.

The Taliban have a monopoly on heorin production in Afghanisatan.

We need to destroy the opium fields. The farmers need to be given a choice, of:

If they destroy their opium crop we will give them crop seeds, show them how to make there own crop seeds, upgrade there farms and farmhouses, upgrade there equipment, train them and subsidise them for 10 years.

If they do not destroy there crops, we will obliterate the farm completely, all buildings associated with the farm including all farming equipment and remove every piece of metal and tool, so it can not be rebuilt. Then mine the entire farm.

People are dying all over Europe of Heorin from Afghanisatan. We need to start being honest and destroy the source.

We then need to start weaning people of the drug at the same time in Europe, so as to destroy the market.

It is time we tackled the Taliban heorin dealers, there sources of supply, supply networks (large and small) and helped the end users of the drugs at the same time.
17:03 October 22, 2009 by eZee.se
While i do not support the war/s (esp after i saw those WMDs which were made from the emperors clothes) , i do support the troops who have been sent to these damn places.

I also support not getting them out asap, because that place is a mess and thinking short term of getting them out is the wrong strategy thats only going to come back later and bite us on the ass - worst case scenario - we have to go back there again in future and try again to sort out the mess if we pull out now.

I say, send more troops in, clear that damn place properly and get it functioning and in line with "normal" nations, then get the F out of there.

Getting out of there right now might save Tom, but if we have to go back there a couple of years from now Tom might lose 3 of his sons.

Everything is kinda peaceful right now so people have quickly forgotten, wait a little while till a bomb explodes in a public place `killing dozens if not hundreds and then people again will ask how could this happen and why arnt we doing something about it? tracing it back to the source, where do you think its going to lead?

Look at NY, immd after 9/11 the firefighters were heroes, a couple of years later they couldnt get donations for a new rig.

People forget too soon - while evil does not.
17:49 October 22, 2009 by Internuncio
Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires. (No one has held it since Alexander)



In July 2000, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar declared that growing poppies was un-Islamic, resulting in one of the world's most successful anti-drug campaigns. As a result of this ban, opium poppy cultivation was reduced by 91% from the previous year's estimate of 82,172 hectares. The ban was so effective that Helmand Province, which had accounted for more than half of this area, recorded no poppy cultivation during the 2001 season.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, a combination of U.S. CIA and military forces (US and allied powers), in support of the Northern Alliance, invaded Afghanistan.

By November 2001, the collapse of the economy and the scarcity of other sources of revenue forced many of the country's farmers to resort back to growing opium for export.(1,300 km² in 2004 according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.)

In December 2001, a number of prominent Afghans met in Bonn, Germany, under United Nations (UN) auspices to develop a plan to reestablish the State of Afghanistan, including provisions for a new constitution and national elections. As part of that agreement, the United Kingdom (UK) was designated the lead country in addressing counter-narcotics issues in Afghanistan. Afghanistan subsequently implemented its new constitution and held national elections. On December 7, 2004, Hamid Karzai was formally sworn in as president of a democratic Afghanistan."

Two of the following three growing seasons saw record levels of opium poppy cultivation. Corrupt officials may have undermined the government's enforcement efforts. Afghan farmers suggested that "government officials take bribes for turning a blind eye to the drug trade while punishing poor opium growers".]

Another obstacle to getting rid of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is the reluctant collaboration between US forces and Afghan warlords in hunting drug traffickers. In the absence of Taliban, the warlords largely control the opium trade but are also highly useful to the US forces in scouting, providing local intelligence, keeping their own territories clean from Al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents, and even taking part in military operations.

Former U.S. State Department Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Thomas Schweich, in a New York Times article dated July 27, 2007, asserts that opium production is protected by the government of Hamid Karzai as well as by the Taliban, as all parties to political conflict in Afghanistan as well as criminals benefit from opium production, and, in Schweich's opinion, the U.S. military turns a blind eye to opium production as not being central to its anti-terrorism mission.
18:00 October 22, 2009 by Investor612
Graveyard of empires? No one held Afghanistan because there's little there to warrant the price of holding.

The opium poppy production is another lose/lose situation, in microcosym like what Afghanistan presented in the aftermath of 9/11. A hands-off policy means the Taliban has the means to sustain itself. Eradicate it and you've destroyed the livilhood of the people you're trying to win over.

Of course there's another solution. Stop the insatiable demand western societies have for drugs. Western drug users fund the Taliban.
21:40 October 22, 2009 by GefleFrequentFlyer
So, the Great Swedish Boyscouts Campout is going to be over with in 2011?

Do they award merit badges for being shot at?
22:07 October 22, 2009 by rise
If they're boy-scouts why aren't they overrun already? Cause the talibans wants them there? Think not.
01:56 October 23, 2009 by Staffs

I wouldn't bother trying to enlighten anybody with the facts or reasoned argument, not on this forum anyway. It's full of mentally sub-normal halfwits spewing out the first thing that fights it's way out of the slush between the ears.
11:00 October 23, 2009 by Ozpot
Governments and politically correct minded are a bunch of hypocrites. Referring to the Swedish democrat that was forced to quit (http://www.thelocal.se/22820/20091022/) (can't leave a post on this sensitive topic hmm)

Since The Anglo Amercian empire has invaded Muslim countries on the pretext of "War on terror" and so called "Weapons of mass destruction" 4.5 million Iraqis have been displaced from their homes. 1.3 Million Iraqis have been killed (Global research.com plus many other sources if you care to look).

Sweden is part of the United Nation and has had the same propaganda in the Media regarding reasons to invade.

If Sweden really cared, why are they not calling for Obama to pull out if Iraq / Afghanistan, insteading of adding to the troop total (preparing for Iran attack perhaps). Obama has increased the war efforts and drone bombing since he has come to be president and the worlds governments support him. Noble peace prize what a farce.

Now they are using the exact same tactics to go into Iran.

If all these politically correct people really care about Muslims then stop the interfering in other sovereign nations and leave these Muslim countries alone.

Pull the troops out!
18:48 October 23, 2009 by DaTraveler
Toughest combat Swedes have ever been in? I'd recommend sending another company -100 soldiers to reinforce the current contingent and patrol the AO and keep it stable. Most likely the US and Brits will be there for the next decade and smaller numbers of other nations.
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