“Security in Afghanistan is worse now than when we went in,” says a former top military man.
Jan Reksten, former head of Norway’s National Joint Headquarters (FOHK), tells NRK he is disappointed about the lack of progress since Norwegian soldiers first entered the country in 2002.
“There’s no doubt that the Taliban has become stronger [during the last nine years]. It is certainly not possible to say we have succeeded. Everybody probably thought time would work for us,” he tells NRK.
Roger Ingebrigtsen, Deputy Minister (State Secretary) at the Ministry of Defence, admits conditions are tough, at the same time maintaining the need for Norway’s, and NATO's presence.
“The alternative is worse. We would leave the country to govern itself, vulnerable to terrorism, as well as regional and world instability,” he says.
Defence Minister Grete Faremo has announced Norway would be making changes to its troop deployment strategy in Afghanistan, both at October’s top-level Ministerial meeting in Brussels, and NATO’s Lisbon Summit last year.
At the same meeting, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen predicted frontline troop pullback would begin in 2012, and the Afghan army and police would gradually assuming responsibility by the end of 2014.
Nevertheless, Nine Norwegian soldiers have been killed, and over 11 billion kroner has been used on military and civil operations to date.
Knut Aanstad, who has served on two Afghanistan tours of duty, and faces being sent back for a third following graduating from Krigsskolen (military academy), believes this is too early.
“All our efforts would have been in vain if we haven’t achieved our goals by the 2014 pullout,” he tells NRK.
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