Norwegian soldiers claim records showing the number of troop injuries in Afghanistan is not up-to-date.
Last week’s report released by the government shows there were 938 injuries to 839 service personnel between 2001 and 2010. This included 26 so-called ‘traumas’ and 9 deaths. A total of 6,938 served in Afghanistan during this period.
Defence Chief Harald Sunde said at the launch that the military “had a good overview of each soldier’s medical condition, but lacked a comprehensive overview of all the soldiers.”
However, the report did not include psychological damage, and new claims suggest what was logged is a portion of the injuries that actually occurred.
“I had few cuts that were sown and got a splinter injury from a shot, but these were never reported,” a soldier, who served in Afghanistan during the first years after the invasion in 2001, tells Aftenposten.
Several personnel have not reported their injuries for fear of being denied serving in the future, including minor injuries judged to have no effect on insurance claims or other payments.
“I would allege there was no overview of injuries that did not lead to permanent disability benefit in the first part of the campaign,” says the soldier, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Confirming not all injuries were recorded, Lieutenant Colonel Bent Ivan Myhre, Harald Sunde’s press spokesperson, writes in an email, “there can occasionally be smaller and non-combat related injuries that are not necessarily registered [in the military’s electronic patient journal system] if they are treated by foreign medical units.
“Delivering accurate statistics about the number of reported injuries is the result of a formidable amount of work. At the same time, we are also open about the report’s limitations... [However,] it should not be such that soldiers do not report they are injured. If there are such situations, we hope the injuries are not serious so they can receive treatment,” he concludes.