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More soldiers to Afghanistan

Norway will send an additional 70 soldiers to Afghanistan this summer, increasing the Norwegian force to 300.

Norway will thereby follow the request from NATO regarding more Norwegian soldiers in Afghanistan.

«The security situation in Afghanistan is still very tense,» stated Minister of Defense Kristin Krohn Devold, in a press release.

She claims security is a requirement in order to establish peace and stability in Afghanistan, and a necessity in order to carry out the planned elections in September.

«We wish to give our contribution to ensure that the stabilizing process succeeds,» Krohn Devold said.

She stressed that the missions in Afghanistan are demanding and there is some risk involved.

The Norwegian soldiers are going to serve in a regional stabilizing team in the north western Afghanistan, a guard and security company and a leader team for a combat battalion group in Kabul, and in a national support team, and as staff officers at the ISAF head quarters. The entire Norwegian contribution is financed outside the Ministry of Defense’s budget.

Increase with 70
The Norwegian contribution in Afghanistan in the second half of 2004 will consist of about 300 persons, and increase of about 70 from the current number.

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