Three Swedish ministers face grilling from MPs over Kabul evacuation

Swedish government ministers Morgan Johansson, Ann Linde and Peter Hultqvist
Morgan Johansson (l), Ann Linde (c) and Peter Hultqvist (r) face a grilling from the Swedish parliament's most powerful committee. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
Sweden's opposition has called three ministers for a grilling by the parliament's most powerful committee over the government's treatment of Afghan interpreters and other staff during the evacuation of Kabul.

The Moderate Party has called Morgan Johansson, Sweden’s justice minister; Ann Linde, its foreign minister; and Peter Hultqvist, its defence minister, for formal questioning in front of the Committee on the Constitution, which is the parliamentary body empowered to investigate the government’s actions. 

“We consider that the government has failed both in practice and in procedure when it comes to the evacuation from Afghanistan,” Pål Jonsson, the Moderate Party MP who reported them to the committee, told the Swedish broadcaster TV4.

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In the application, Hultqvist and Johansson are accused of providing “completely incorrect information”. It claims that it was unconstitutional to treat translators and other local staff separately from Sweden’s existing refugee quota, and also that there were as many as 10,000 Afghan staff who, together with their family and dependents, could potentially come to Sweden, more than accommodated within the refugee quota.

“At root, this is about being able to demand from government representatives that the information they provide is correct, and should not be misleading or misrepresentative,” Jonson writes.

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In the application, Jonsson noted that foreign ministry employees had confirmed the impression the the government had acted too late and too slowly, and sharply criticised the way the government had handled local employees at Sweden’s embassy in Kabul.  

“They have, among other things, highlighted that there was no concrete plan for how the safety of local employees should be secured,” he writes. 

Johansson welcomed the investigation, saying it was “natural” that the parliament should investigate the operation.

“The government and its agencies had to solve a very difficult situation under extreme and dramatic circumstances and I am proud of the rescue operation which was carried out,” he said.

Sweden evacuated around 1,100 people from Afghanistan during the operation which concluded on August 27th, and the Foreign Ministry is currently working on a second phase of evacuation via neighbouring countries, Sveriges Radio has reported.


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