Swedish soldiers to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014
The Swedish people are hopeful that Afghanistan’s situation will improve, especially in the north, Krister Bringéus, Sweden’s senior civilian representative in the north, told reporters in Balkh province.
Bringeus said the sype of service Swedsish soldiers are offering may change but that parliament had made a decision that its soldiers will remain in Afghanistan for the long- term.
“It is my personal opinion that we will not let Afghanistan alone after 2014 and withdraw our forces,” Bringeus said.
After 2014, the number of soldiers will not decrease and civilian cooperation will be given priority over military, he added.
Sweden spends about €70 million (4.3 billion afghanis) annually for Afghanistan’s development, Bringeus said.
Col. Michal Nilsson, the commander of the Provincial Reconstruction Team for the four northern provinces of Samangan, Balkh, Jawzjan and Sar-i-Pul, said they took part in operations with Afghan forces but in the future their participation will be only in emergency situations.
According to Nilsson, their main focus will be on the improvement of civilian issues.
The development advisor of the PRT, Malm, said 30 percent of Sweden’s donations are spent in Jawzjan, Sar-i-Pul, Samangan and Balkh provinces.
She said these provinces are paid more attention because of Sweden’s military presence.
Without mentioning any specific project, Malm said work has been done in educational, health, public and transport sections.
A military camp of international forces is located Marmal area of Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital of Balkh province where 11,000 foreign soldiers of 16 different nationalities are stationed.
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