(THIS ARTICLE IS MACHINE TRANSLATED by Google from Norwegian)
[Afghanistan] – I did not "command" the Norwegians, but coordinated their efforts on behalf of the local American commander, says Lieutenant Colonel Chris Lozano to Ny Tid.
He thus refutes the Defense's claim that he did not tell the Norwegian mine cleaners where to clear during their stay at Bagram in Afghanistan.
- The Norwegians were not only involved in removing landmines, but also in the decisions about which mines should be left to protect the borders around the base, American Lozano has told Ny Tid earlier.
Commander and press officer Thom Knustad at Joint Operations Headquarters told Ny Tid that this would be contrary to Norwegian guidelines. The Armed Forces subsequently sent out a press release in which they denied the allegations in Ny Tid: "At no time was an order given to Norwegian deminers to leave mines behind," they write.
Lozano has previously described it as his responsibility to establish a system for mine clearance on Bagram, and that he personally put the Norwegian mine clearers to clear selected areas. Now he confirms that he was responsible for the Norwegian mine cleaners.
- The Norwegians were linked to the coalition forces' Land Component Commander and reported to the local military authority. I worked for the local commander and was responsible for the overall results, including coordinating the efforts of the deminers, says Lozano.
The defense refuses to elaborate on the allegations they make in their press release and will not comment on Chris Lozano's role further. – We see no reason to comment on this any more, says Thom Knustad.
Ny Tid wrote on February 3 that Norwegian deminers under American command have been ordered to leave some minefields behind to protect Allied soldiers. This happened in the spring of 2002 at the base at Bagram in northern Afghanistan. The participation was Norway's contribution to Operation Enduring Freedom. Mine expert Per Nergaard in Norwegian People's Aid believes that this is a clear violation of the mining convention.