Toward A More Active Role in Afghanistan in 2012

The government has revised the plan of Norway's presence in Afghanistan. Norwegian military efforts will continue at about the same level, while the training and logistic activities will be intensified.

– “We will further strengthen our instructors' contributions to various training institutions of the Afghan army and maintain the current contributions to the engineering school and communications school,” said Defense Minister Grete Faremo.

Continuous Military Activities with Latvia

Faremo also noted they will prioritize the Norwegian-led stabilization works in Faryab, PRT Meymaneh and eventually hand over responsibility to Afghan authorities.

Reemphasizing the difficulty of military operations in the country, Faremo stated that putting most of the military burden on individual capacities cannot be continued. In this frame, Norwegian and Latvian forces will cooperate on the field. By 2012 Norway will take over responsibility for force protection, a task shift which is expected to relieve Norwegian forces.

The government also plans to deploy a military transport aircraft (C-130 J Hercules) in Afghanistan in autumn 2012, which will help secure the transport of personnel, supplies and materials. The transport aircraft will support the ISAF mission in Afghanistan as well.

Norwegians Still Skeptic about the Activities in Afghanistan

In a recent survey conducted by Doctors without Borders (MSF) Scandinavia, 1,000 Norwegians were asked whether they thought "the help provided by the Norwegian forces in Afghanistan," is governed by the same principles of independence, impartiality and neutrality of the humanitarian organizations' operations.

While 38 percent of the respondents answered yes to the question, 30 percent said no, while the last third said they are not sure. MSF believes these responses indicate confusion among the Norwegian people in understanding the intent of Norwegian forces in Afghanistan.

– “These findings suggest that many Norwegians do not understand that Norway has a clear political and military objective in Afghanistan and is not a neutral actor. This can be seen in the context of the Norwegian political rhetoric about Afghanistan, where war is referred to as a ‘contribution’ or ‘commitment’ to help the civilian population,” says Chairman of MSF in Norway, Håkon Bolkan.

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