Norway steps up engagement in Afghanistan

A solid majority in Parliament supports a decision to send more Norwegian troops to Afghanistan.

In June another 70 soldiers will be sent to strenghten the NATO-led ISAF force in Kabul, increasing the Norwegian contingent to between 305 and 320 persons.

Most of these become part of the ISAF stabilizing force in Kabul, apart from around 30 offisers and men who will become part of a co-called Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Northern Afghanistan, together with British and Finnish troops.

The Government wants the team to be under ISAF leadership, working under a UN mandate, but during a change-over-period the team will be integrated in the US-led "Enduring Freedom".

In the view of the Socialist Left Party and the Agrarians, this ought to have been avoided, by waiting until the ISAF force is in place.

[Source: Norway Post, 07May04]

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