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AFGHANISTAN

Sweden - We are making progress in Afghanistan

Published onsdag 19 januari 2011 kl 13.23
"We should not abandon Afghanistan"
(3:23 min)
Reporting on Afghanistan, Swedish diplomat Krister Bringeus.Photo:Ulf Palm/Scanpix

A little over a month ago, the Swedish parliament voted by a large majority to extend the Swedish military presence in Afghanistan, with a withdrawal date set at 2014.

However, the arguments for and against a Swedish military presence in Afghanistan continue with some voices calling for more development assistance ahead of providing a military presence around Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan.

The topic was raised this week at the annual "Society and Defence " conference in Sälen.

Gunilla Carlsson, Sweden's Minister for International Development Assistance told SR International's Anders Ljungberg that Sweden had a dual role to play in the country.

" We should not abandon Afghanistan and the Afghan people. We have to help them with security, development and also a substantial amount of money for humanitarian assistance."

One man in place to oversee Sweden's development assistance and military effort is diplomat and senior civilian representative in Mazir -i-Sharif, Krister Bringeus. He told SR International that the Swedish presence in the area was paying dividends.

"We  are now in a process where we are putting in civilian projects such as schools, roads, irrigation systems, so there is a direct link between the military operation that has cleared the area and our chances to provide that area with assistance."

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