Sweden plans Afghan mission extension

TT/AFP/The Local
TT/AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Sweden plans Afghan mission extension

Sweden's governing Alliance coalition wants to extend the mandate of Swedish forces in Afghanistan and is prepared to increase the military budget if the situation demands it.


Representatives for all four government parties - Sten Tolgfors (M), Birgitta Ohlsson (FP), Kerstin Lundgren (C) and Holger Gustafsson (KD) - outlined the Alliance plans in a debate article in the Dagens Nyheter daily on Monday.

The Alliance also wants to extend the civil mission, including development aid and support for the build up of an Afghan state based on the rule of law.

The government colleagues - which include Sweden's defence and EU affairs ministers, Sten Tolgfors and Birgitta Ohlsson - argued that Sweden should contribute with more police officers and that aid should be concentrated on the country's northern regions where the Swedish forces are based.

"A higher profile for Swedish aid would strengthen relations with the civilian population," the politicians argued.

The four argued that while Sweden is not part of a military alliance the country works alongside other forces to build security.

"Sweden should participate in international crisis management efforts which carry a clear legal mandate, as an expression of Sweden's solidarity and responsibility in the world."

They are furthermore critical of the red-green opposition line to cut Sweden's forces in international conflict management efforts and argue that they lack a clear position on the issue.

"Countries which do not take this responsibility not only let people in need down, they dump the responsibility for peace, security, solidarity and development on others."

Some 500 Swedish troops are currently posted in the North of Afghanistan, serving in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Swedish troops were sent to the country in early 2002, even though Sweden is officially neutral and not a member of Nato.

The Swedish opposition coalition, made up of the Social-Democrat, Left and

Green parties, is divided on the presence of Swedish troops in Afghanistan and

has not yet said what it would do if it wins the election, but said it would clarify its position before the vote.


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