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Government faces Afghanistan vote defeat

AFP/The Local · 30 Sep 2010, 07:13

Published: 30 Sep 2010 07:13 GMT+02:00

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The opposition decided during its first post-election meeting to discuss presenting a motion to parliament to set a 2013 exit date for Swedish troops now stationed in Afghanistan, Swedish media reported.

"We are standing by the agreement we made and we are going to act on it in

parliament," Social Democrat and opposition leader Mona Sahlin told reporters.

Swedish parliament reconvenes next week for the first time since the September 19th election, when Reinfeldt is also scheduled to present his government.

The prime minister's four-party coalition won most votes in the September 19th general elections but fell two seats short of a majority of the 349 seats in parliament.

The ruling coalition has said it wants to extend the Swedish mission in Afghanistan and has refused to set an exit date for troops.

It has more seats than the opposition, made up of the Social Democrat, Green, and Left parties, but the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats, which are not associated to either bloc, could play kingmaker on the issue.

The far-right, which was voted into parliament for the first time and holds 20 seats, has said it is opposed to Sweden's presence in Afghanistan and could very well vote with the opposition on the issue, although it has not yet said it would do so.

The presence on the far-right in parliament could also make Monday's vote of a new house speaker chaotic, media reported.

Story continues below…

According to the reports, the Sweden Democrats have said they would support a speaker from the centre-right coalition, but only if the party gets a deputy speaker post.

Reinfeldt has vowed not to cooperate with the far-right, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats and has instead said he will seek support from the Greens to pass legislation.

According to the opposition, he will opt to lead a minority government instead of building a new coalition, but he has not spoken publicly since the day after the election.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:58 September 30, 2010 by rafa1981
"It has more seats than the opposition, made up of the Social Democrat, Green, and Left parties, but the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats, which are not associated to either bloc, could play kingmaker on the issue."

Why the "anti-immigrant" calificative preciding Sweden Democrats, is the article talking about immigration? why the Green party is not having and adjective like "anti-leather" and the Social Democrats another like "anti-liberal"? does the adjective provide relevant information to the matter of this new, or does it try to take their legitimacy away?

One more example of biased press, everyone knows that even in their homeland (EU) to have troops in Afghanistan is sacred, the "anti-immigrants" don´t want to participate in the massacre, massacre from where some refugees have to be taken here.

So with this rule of thumb of biased press for every party that wants to continue there an adjective like "pro-afghan-war" or "sold-to-foreign-interests" could be added in every new of every newspaper.
09:17 September 30, 2010 by hpunlimited
Why do we have troops in Afghanistan at all? Sweden has no business with Afghanistan, it is a war that can NEVER be won, it can NEVER solve anything, only make things worse. Everyone knows this.

Our forces should protect Sweden, not Afghanistan. The UN really has played out its role. UN needs to be shut down and build a new organisation. Leave the Afghanis to themselves, let them fight it out, just like we europeans had to do, nobody helped us and look at where we are now.
09:44 September 30, 2010 by miss79
yep hpunlimited, thats why Mona wants to take the troops back home..wasting money..but some people doesnt think like u..unforrtunately
09:58 September 30, 2010 by Bork
It's hard to argue reducing the number of refugees allowed into Sweden when the country has troops in regions where some may originate. The rule should be, the countries involved in wars in specific countries have to accept refugees from those countries, but those not involved have no obligation to do so. If it's an internal war, only under extreme circumstances should /neighboring/ countries be pressure to accept them. Countries far away from the conflict that have nothing to do with the problems in that country should not be accepting refugees/asylum seekers non-stop. It's unsustainable and not fair at all to those who have roots in the countries for decades and centuries. This is not a policy Swedes voted for but one their government has instituted. They are left no options as the major parties don't seem to care (see new potential voters? or afraid of being labeled racists?) They way it works now, all they need is some conflict and then they're all off to Scandinavia where they may not find work or fit in with the rest of the country, but they can live off a generous welfare system and in pockets with people just like them instead of having to adapt to the culture of the country they moved to.
10:14 September 30, 2010 by RobinHood

"Why do we have troops in Afghanistan at all"

An excellent question. The answer is well and truly connected to the events of 11 September 2001 and before. Back in the last century, the then rulers of Afghanistan, a loose confederation of tribes and clans known collectively as the Taliban, had invited an ambitious terrorist organisation known as Al Qaeda to train and settle within its borders. On 11 September 2001, Al Qaeda operatives killed nearly 3 000 innocent people in three attacks in the US. The Taliban were a bit surprised at this, to say the least, but in the spirit of Islamic brotherhood, stuck by their impertinent guests. Even under intense US diplomatic pressure to give them up, and live in peace. The US felt it was intolerable for Al Qaeda to remain safe in its new Afghan bases planning new atrocities (which it was), and led a coalition of like minded counties into Afghanistan to drive Al Qaeda out, and perhaps even collect the head of its leader Osama bin Laden. Sweden felt it a jolly good thing to help rid the world of a potent group of terrorist mass-murderers, and joined the coalition with a symbolic contribution of a few hundred troops providing support services.

And here we are today, the Taliban still happy to accommodate Al Qaeda. And a new Afghan government, and the US unhappy to see Al Qaeda cozy in Afghanistan, and up to its old tricks. From a US perspective, the current situation is tolerable. Al Qaeda is trapped in a few caves in the mountainous border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and has not been able to launch a significant terrorist attack since 2001. Its active membership is less than 200 and falling. The US shiny new drones are picking off Al Qaeda members a few every month, and no doubt will get lucky one day and incinerate Osama bin Laden. Of course the US (and everyone else) would like to see hostilities end in a more formal way, but the reality is that things will continue very much the way they are now for a very long time, and certainly until the US receives some sort of guarantee that the region is not going to produce any more mass-murderers of US citizens within its own borders.

You must ask yourself two questions now. Does Sweden and the rest of the world benefit from a terrorist free society? And if it does, should Sweden contribute to that society by helping to deprive Al Qaeda of a safe have in Afghanistan?

I hope this all helps you answer your question at the top of this post.
10:42 September 30, 2010 by wenddiver
@Robinhood- Well said, that was probably a more reasoned and intelligent answer than anyone asking the question deserves. The question itself kind of smacks of "Why should I study, when everyone else will and I can sponge off them".
11:05 September 30, 2010 by Kevtravels
Dutch recently pulled out a few months ago, Canadians pulling out in 1 year and the Polish will be gone before end of 2012. And surely more nations will follow leaving the US, UK and Australia to deal with the whole mess.

Afghanistan isn't peace-keeping. All nations should know that by now and thus the politicians should explain to their citizens its importance. Losing Afghanistan emboldens the insurgents and particularly those in the border regions near and in Pakistan.

Primary mission to Afghanistan is reconstruction and training. Hard to build when you're in combat 24/7. Also it will be years before the Afghans are remotely ready to lead in battle and that's why NATO takes the brunt of casualties. If Sweden pulls out, it's up to them. I'll just say i respect them for what they have done so far in aiding their allies and the Afghans.
11:11 September 30, 2010 by hpunlimited

I think that the USAs and UKs core principles for fighting terrorism are driven more for "revenge" than trying to solve the problem. They completely missunderstand WHY and HOW to fight terrorism and they failed to analyze WHY Al Qaeda attacked the WTC in the first place.

The UK should have learned something from the Northern Ireland conflicts(terrorism in europe) and it came to a peaceful solution and understanding. We no londer have any terrorism in Northern Ireland.

War, manipulation, politics creates terrorism. The more you bomb and kill the more terrorism you create. Now the USA has created generations of terrorists. Children that grow up without parents, that has a grudge with the USA and when they grow up they will fight the USA with terrorism again.

Terrorism = polical statements. By reacting they way the USA did, they fell into Usama bin ladens trap. Usama WANTED the USA to invade Afghanistan, that was the whole purpose of 9/11. He even said so on video tape himself and the USA knows this. Usama wanted the US to fall into the trap to invade muslim countries so the "muslims" would gather together for a cause against the "infedels" in the west. Usama Bin Laden outsmarted two of the most powerful nations in the world.

Now we sit here with mass muslim immigration, Sweden has to PAY for USAs and UKs mess by paying for all the refugees. We even have our own troops down there to "police".
11:43 September 30, 2010 by Grippen

Shouldn't we connect to even earlier events? Why Septemter 11th attack has happened? Isn't it connected to the fact, that US were and still are heavily supporting Israel, despite occupied Palestinian teritories?
11:52 September 30, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg

Muchas gracias for your priceless politico linguistic analysis of da current biased journalese applied to the SD, but for example not to the self-proclaimed bourgeois Moderate Party which usurped the classical role of Lars Ohly's Vänster on behalf of the lumpen proletariat and Mona Sahlin's ( I said Sahlin, not Stalin) Mona Sahlin's Social Democrats by Reinfeldt & Co. of the Alliance Inc. arrogating to themselves the title of workers party as per their election slogan, "Bara ett arbetarparti kan fixa jobben!" meaning that they are "The only workers party that can fix jobs". Given the history of the Arbetarrörelsen, this “only” is smart but hardly credible.

SD has also been labelled " the anti-Jihad" party. Question is, which of all the parties in the Swedish parliament is a Jihad party and which if any , is not an anti-Jihad party?

But back to this very important matter of those who are responsible for committing Sweden to the on-going war in Afghanistan:Whatever strong views we may have about this, in my opinion it should not jeopardise the lives of our boys and girls who are presently serving there, so we are told, in a peaceful, peacekeeping and peace-making capacity, as our Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has explained from time to time.

Hopefully, Lars Ohly for one and the SD here with some moral clout, may not be able to stop the war but may help to bring our boys and girls back, and not in body bags.

The Afghan war brought the Dutch Government down:

12:02 September 30, 2010 by RobinHood

No I don't think so. The Palestinian question had been around for many decades before 2001, and during those decades, no US president had ever considered attacking Afghanistan.

By lunchtime on 11 September, every eye in the still smouldering Pentagon turned to Al Qaeda and its Taliban hosts. The US attack on Afghanistan was exclusively triggered by Al Qaeda's attack on the US of 11 September.

If there had been no 11 September, the US would not be in Afghanistan now.
12:23 September 30, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg

"If there had been no 11 September, the US would not be in Afghanistan now."

And I suppose that if there had been no oil and no arsenals of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction with mobile launchers ready to deploy within 45 minutes, US troops would never have arrived in Baghdad in time.


Where O where is super sleuth Trowbridge when I need him?

12:29 September 30, 2010 by Kanedaa

I wouldn't compare the problems with the IRA etc with Al-Qaeda -

I don't think there is a peaceful compromise with Al-Qaeda, they're fanatics and won't stop until they have their way or are dead.

They way to win this war is with education, communication and understanding. If we can get a good dialogue and relationship with the Islamic world we can stop people becoming members of terrorist groups or have any reason to bare a grudge against the west.

We can't win this war by using just brute force, it will just breed more enemies.
12:32 September 30, 2010 by Swedesmith
@Robinhood As always, an excellent and intelligent post. However I believe that hpunlimited #8 has a valid point. What is actually being accomplished? Sure, there have been no more attacks on the scale of 9/11 but how many more hateful terrorists have been created? Also, one must wonder how much of the US (and Sweden due to US pressure) involvement with Afghanistan and Iraq is due to oil? One wonders if all of the $ spent on these wars could have been better directed to finding renewable energy sources and reduce the need for oil. Without the massive profits from black gold, the terrorists would be reduced back to tribal camel herders.
13:54 September 30, 2010 by Audrian
@ Robinhood, you are revising history. Al Qaeda was created by the CIA with the help of Pakistani's CSI and Saudi Arabia's money in the war against the Soviet Union. Afghanistan and the Taliban have nothing to do with the creation of Al Qaeda.

@Bork. It is America's imperial war and its allies that are causing the refugee crisis. The cost should have to be born by them and yet the neighboring countries are paying for most of it. For example, Syria has about three million Iraqi refugees and Pakistan had been accommodating similar numbers before the US began bombing Pakistan's tribal areas.
15:25 September 30, 2010 by RememberAisha
Very good post RH!

Personally, I like our troops over there, because if the US had not gone into Afghanistan you can bet your families lives that there would be more terrorist attacks in the US and in other places (probably including Sweden).

You cant compare the IRA to the crazies because the IRA dont think everyone who does not believe in their religion should be wiped off the face of the earth and everyone should follow a pedophiles teachings. They have a bunch of people who will listen to reason... not the same on the other side.

The sad truth is, there is no real end in sight and you cant really defeat the evil... you just do your best to keep it at bay.

While it might sound great to leave Afghanistan and come home (to all our respective countries) in reality that would simply mean that the crazies get organized again... we have another 9/11 (maybe this time in Sweden), we invade again... etc etc. Thats simply not a cycle we should fall into.
15:39 September 30, 2010 by rafa1981
Al Qaeda is bullshit, everyone knows that, the US military, the biggest and most magnificient army, with loads of weapons and the best trained soldiers and loads of space satellites to seek from it´s stuck for 9 years in a country looking for 10 or 20 diper heads?

If the problem would be Bin Laden and friends why is it necessary to pay billions of dollars moving troops? the CIA-Mossad service can investigate-locate-murder them as it has been done with many leaders and politicians around the world using a small portion of the money, lives and resources spent.

It´s obvious that in Afghanistan there´s a common geostrategical thing for us (Europe) and for the Americans, at least to our elites, and to be fair maybe for us but a side effect, but please, don´t be hypocrite, they/we are there to try to keep our supremacy as every empire in history did, covered by blood of course, so some bullshit needs to invented to make the people support the fight.

PS: The western countries we are losing that war, if you exercise your memory they have been saying us those 9 years that we are winning, you can´t be winning for 9 years without a resulting in the end of the war. Afghanistan, "graveyard of empires".
15:45 September 30, 2010 by flappinggums
@RobinHood....."and has not been able to launch a significant terrorist attack since 2001"

Really? Shouldn't you say "and has not been able to launch a significant terrorist attack since 2001 on white folk in western countries"

I'm ABSOLUTELY positive that Zarquari was Al-Quaeda & that he perpetrated innumerable acts of terrorism against the Iraqi people until gotten by a shiny drone.....guess those Iraqi people don't 'count' in your world though eh?
16:06 September 30, 2010 by RobinHood
@Flapping gums.

Please stop flapping,calm down, and read my post again, particularly the bit following the line "From a US perspective...."

I have not commented at all from my own perspective.
16:06 September 30, 2010 by rumcajs
All this is about money. As simple as that.


It's easy to be pro war if you don't fight it. If you agree so much with it, so go and fight it your self!
17:11 September 30, 2010 by Andersson
The world was UNIPOLAR at the time of 9/11 and we are forced to believe in it. WE ARE FORCED TO BELIEVE in it .. and as matter of fact 9/11 lacks the verasity on the basis of logic and reasoning. Anyways the badly scripted drama is doing good business...lets wait for the drop scene..
19:48 September 30, 2010 by mojofat
"Leave the Afghanis to themselves, let them fight it out, just like we europeans had to do, nobody helped us and look at where we are now."

Uhhh...what? Marshall Plan?? What was that exactly?

Sweden should do what's best for Sweden, but I wonder how the "stick our collective heads in the sand" crowd will react after the next London style bombing when it happens in Stockholm. Or is found to have been planned and coordinated in Sweden. It's been known that some Somalians have been found to be recruiting new terrorist recruits within Sweden. It's a fact that Afghanistan/Pakistan border region is the operational HQ for the taliban and al qaeda and they aren't just anti-US. They are anti-modern civilization. But I guess like Hitler, we can hope that al qaeda will just want to drive trains through the country to destroy our neighbors...or just want our iron ore for munitions. Unlikely.

I'm not gung ho for war at all, but it's not a black and white issue where we can rationally say that if we simply ignore it it will be someone else's problem. Eventually, it very well may be Sweden's problem but by then it's a far trickier mess to address.
22:48 September 30, 2010 by samwise
can somebody shed some light on why the nationalist SD party is categorized as "far right"? what positions make them "far right"?
22:56 September 30, 2010 by Andersson
@mojofat.. please remove your fat from your brain and THINK ...how a poor afghani who has no home, no technology , no nothing can come and destroy us across thousand of miles... you really got to give them air ticket, provide them with the explosive and enough motivation to do all this...and how it could be possible without your knowledge... give me some reasons based on some convincing logic that those living in mountians are capable to destroy us.
23:37 September 30, 2010 by flappinggums
@RobinHood Ummm? Eh? You say that I should reread what you posted, particularly "From a US perspective.." I have & stand by what I said, the reason being, THAT is the US perspective & rather than giving a link that would show hpunlimited that's what they state as their reasons for remaining there 'straight from the horses mouth', you ANSWER his/her question in the form of a brief synopsis of US reasoning & offer no alternative ANSWER of your own, thereby implying your & the US' perspective are one & the same, surely?

There to fight terrorism, not working, 100's of US/UK/other countries citizens dying in Afghanistan, 10's of 1000's of Afghani citizens being killed & maimed now & innumerable atrocities perpetrated all over the world ever since we 'invaded', yet timetables for withdrawal being announced by various govts worldwide including the US & UK thereby showing that the fight on terrorism is 'won' as long as terrorism happens elsewhere to others or, it's not worth the cost of fighting as long as said terrorism is happening elsewhere & to others, surely?

If we are to fight & stay as long as it takes the Cameron wouldn't be saying 2014 "we're out" & various candidates for both the Democrats & Republicans in the US wouldn't be still campaigning on the same ticket Obama did, out of Afghanistan ASAP after a regime capable of fighting for us (paraphrasing or reading between the lines, you decide) is established. That's decades away yet we're leaving soon(in relative terms)

If the whole thing was written with your tongue planted firmly in your cheek then I apologise for my confrontational language in my last post & confess "I missed the irony" Was it?
23:42 September 30, 2010 by flappinggums
@ RobinHood...cont

As for what you told Grippen, couldn't agree more! No US President did think of attacking Afghanistan pre 9/11...of course Reagan & the Pentagon did agree with opposing further Soviet expansion into the region through the use of 'Advisors' & GARGANTUAN military expenditure on supplying the Mujahadeen & using them to fight a war v the Soviets by proxy. That kinda brings us back to my other point about suitable client regimes though & Kharzai not being there yet, as well as opening a whole new can of worms about the possibility of what's taking place in Afghanistan not being about a war on terror to make the world a terrorist free zone & should Sweden contribute to this 'noble' aim, but possibly the necessity to combat the future role of China in a geopolitically, at present, vital area for the US & Europe, which, when I read what Rumsfeld/Cheney/Wolfowitz et al said about the need to isolate China politically in Western Asia/Middle East LONG LONG before 9/11 re negation of their ability to 'cozy up' to avowedly antiUS goverments in the region, makes me view what's given as our reasons for remaining in an obviously failing 'war', sceptically or what I think when I see what's written in a policy document like The Pentagons Nov.1998 Strategy Statement for Asia which argues for the introduction of a LARGE & CONSTANT US military presence in Western Asia citing "Chinas, likely to continue increasing, involvement in the region & it's known desire to fill the political & economic vacuum left since the demise of the USSR that contain within them the potential to threaten it's Western borders", again, LONG LONG before 9/11. Just a thought )
00:57 October 1, 2010 by jazzIIIlove
just as neverending story.
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