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UN track in the distance

It was never about where in Afghanistan we should send Norwegian soldiers.


[20. October 2006] If one were to win the Afghanistan conflict with military power, the US and NATO forces are poorly small. Experts say one must double or triple the number of soldiers in Afghanistan to have any chance of hope. After decades of armed conflict, there are other things than weapons and soldiers needed to make peace in Afghanistan. The strategy of the world community has failed the Afghan people.

In the past week, the government has implemented a sweeping communication strategy around NATO's request for more Norwegian soldiers to the fighting in southern Afghanistan. SV leader Kristin Halvorsen took good care of her statements before the press-

the conference on Wednesday, where the government announced that they will not send any special forces there now.

More problematic was SP leader Åslaug Haga's statements in Dagsavisen, where she said that we cannot hand over the "crap jobs" to the US and the UK and only engage us in the UN peacekeeping operations. Haga does this in a polemic against the SV, which has already shelved its NATO resistance and does not advocate that Norway withdraw from the ISAF operations in Afghanistan. But what the SV has actually achieved in Soria Moria is that the military foreign engagement to Norway should be more focused on UN operations.

Today, most Norwegian foreign forces are in NATO operations, or the EU force is like the one currently in Lebanon. In recent years, Norway has had to say no to or send tiny forces contributions to UN peacekeeping operations, including in Africa, because the Armed Forces have no capacity to contribute. Norway currently has just under 500 soldiers in Afghanistan.

There is little in the big context, but a lot for Norway. It is by far the largest foreign operation for the Norwegian defense, and Norway is also the largest contributor to the Isaf force in relation to the population. Should we send even more soldiers to NATO operations in Afghanistan, it will automatically come at the expense of the opportunity to contribute to UN operations elsewhere. How does the government intend to fulfill the commitments to the UN turn in Soria Moria? Has the government forgotten the so-called UN track? Anyway, the discussion has derailed.

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