Election 2010

Afghanistan Policy Differences? Not Yet

Less than seven weeks before the general election, opposition leader Mona Sahlin says Swedish troops could start coming home at the beginning of the next Parliamentary session. Speaking to daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter she said that if Afghanistan's upcoming elections go well then Sweden would be able to reduce troop levels.

The Red-Green opposition is still working out a common line on Sweden's future in Afghanistan, with the Left Party demanding immediate withdrawal. The other parties meanwhile have been more hesitant to promise a troop pull back.

And recent polls are indicating that a majority of Swedes want the peacekeeping troops to come home.

Sweden's center-right coalition government has stuck to its goal that security responsibilities will be handed over to Afghanistan by 2014. And Foreign Minister Carl Bildt told Radio Sweden Thursday that at least Sahlin's line on Afghanistan isn't that far from the government's.

"She said that a prolongation for the next year would be reasonable, and at the same time looking at the transition of security responsibility," he said Thursday. "That's roughly the government line, if that is the case."

Bildt said that the handover of security responsibility to Afghanis could begin as early as next year and would be considered on a province by province basis. That did not mean, he said, that Sweden's presence in the region would decrease.

Asked if there was a chance that Swedish troop levels could increase Bildt said, "You never know but I don't see that. It doesn't seem to be in the cards at the moment."

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
Du hittar dina sparade ljud i menyn under Min lista