Red-Greens: Troops out of Afghanistan 2011

Red-Greens: Troops out of Afghanistan 2011
A Red-Green government would begin the withdrawal of Swedish troops from Afghanistan in July 2011, with the last soldiers home by the 2013, the three party opposition coalition announced on Friday.

“Our strategy is completely consistent with the international strategy for a successive withdrawal,” said Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin at a Friday press conference.

The three parties were in agreement that the Swedish force in Afghanistan would not be expanded, a move which has been proposed by the Alliance government.

“We say a straight no to that,” Mona Sahlin said.

Sahlin underlined that the shift in the party’s policy is as a result of the Kabul Conference at the end of July and not due to pressure from coalition partner, the Left Party.

“At some point big brother has to let little brother cope on his own,” she said.

The three parties write in their agreement that conditions on the ground will determine the pace of the Swedish troop withdrawals.

Green Party spokesperson Peter Eriksson concluded that there is a growing insight that the old military strategy has not worked and all (international coalition partners) are now in agreement that military forces should be withdrawn by 2014.

“We are concerned that we have a government which is not aware of international developments,” he said.

Left Party leader Lars Ohly stressed that the agreement does not mean that Sweden is abandoning Afghanistan.

“Sweden is not pulling out, we are increasing our commitment. When we scale down the military forces we release resources for civil operations,” he said.

The Red-Green agreement is dependent on the continuing security situation in Afghanistan.

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