Oversimplified Debate on Afghanistan

Weekly student newspaper, Universitas presents the Norwegian soldier, Lars Magne Hovtun’s ideas about Norway’s presence in Afghanistan. Hovtun suggests that it's a politically correct war resistance at Blindern and blames some students assuming that one must have moral defects to choose to go to Afghanistan.

He has been in Afghanistan five times in the last three years. Now he is a student at the University of Oslo (UiO), where he studies Russian Studies. Hovtun was in Afghanistan as press officer, but stresses that he now speaks as a student.

Afghanistan and the aim of the occupation debate

Last week, shock statements of Norwegian soldiers in Afghanistan about killing ambition, revenge and comparison of war with sex had initiated a headed debate about Norway’s mission in the country and a strong reactions against Norwegian soldiers' role.

– Only one thing is being discussed at the University, namely whether we should pull out our soldiers or not. There is so much more to discuss, and students and experts at Blindern have so much more to contribute to this debate. Now the debate is far too simplistic and not very substantial, says the veteran.

He also expresses his gratefullnes about the commitment to the Afghanistan issue at Blindern, but he thinks it is unfair that the soldiers are targets for criticism of Norway's participation in Afghanistan.

People are so Ignorant

John Rongved came back to Norway from Afghanistan in 2007. Now he is studying technology, organization and learning at the University. He remembers a moment on the subway when he had just returned from Afghanistan. He looked around and thought how peaceful and quiet Norway was.

– When I got home, I thought people here were a bit ignorant. I experienced a poverty I have never seen before. But you come home and feel that people are concerned about having a new iPod,” tells Rongved.

He also noted that the veteran soldiers like himself can be a great asset to the university, as they have seen how things are with their own eyes, and can bring experience, and knowledge to the debates at Blindern.

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